PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pasco County has announced face coverings are no longer required in Pasco County.
Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles signed an executive order that face coverings are no longer required in Pasco due to lower COVID-19 hospital rates and climbing vaccine rates.
Pasco County government said in a press release hospitalization rates for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms have been steadily dropping over the past several weeks, increasing the number of available hospital beds for anyone who needs them.
Seventy percent of Pasco County residents 65 and older have been vaccinated, and 57 percent of
Pasco residents 50 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Monday, April 5, all adults in the state of Florida are eligible for the vaccine.
The county is recommending the continued use of face coverings in indoor public places. Face coverings are still required on all Pasco County Public Transportation buses per Transportation and Security Administration requirements. Additionally, the lifting of this order does not apply to entities outside the control of the Pasco Board of County Commissioners, including schools and courthouses.
Pasco County Schools will continue to require masks for all staff, students, and visitors on school campuses and in district offices for the time being, despite today’s announcement that the county is rescinding the countywide mask mandate.
The county’s announcement today only affects buildings and offices under the authority of the county.
“I cannot in good conscience abandon our health and safety protocols at this time,” said Kurt Browning, superintendent of Pasco Schools. “Our protocols have helped to prevent, and certainly reduce, the spread of COVID-19 among our students and staff.”
Superintendent Browning added that students and staff have adapted well to the district’s established protocols, which include the wearing of masks and social distancing when appropriate. The CDC continues to recommend the wearing of masks in settings such as schools, and the state of Florida remains under an emergency order until April 26, unless the order is extended once again by Gov. DeSantis.
As of Monday, 220,874 doses have administered in Pasco County with 146,200 total people vaccinated.
The majority of those who have been vaccinated in Florida are in the 65 to 74 age group.