Fast-growing Facebook group tracks businesses requiring masks in Lakeland

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — After Lakeland city commissioners declined to take up a vote to mandate masks, a growing number of people on Facebook became interested in which businesses were requiring masks anyway.

“I want them to know that there are definitely people out there that want to support them,” said Heather Jackson.

Jackson started the Facebook group “Lakeland Business – Operation Face Mask.”

Her concern is linked to her parents. They are both cancer survivors.

“My mother was actually diagnosed since the pandemic started and has had cancer surgery since the pandemic started. Cancer is scary enough, but let me just tell you – we’ve been through it. My ‘why’ is my parents,” said Jackson.

Her new “Operation Face Mask” Facebook page lists at least 110 local businesses that are requiring face coverings, and that list is growing.

Members topped 1,000 by Tuesday.

Jackson is concerned that if the coronavirus cases don’t start declining, local businesses would not survive another shutdown.

“These 110 businesses have really stood up and I hope the community-at-large will support them because it is important,” she said. “It’s important for all of us that they survive.”

The City of Lakeland announced Tuesday that commissioners would meet again Thursday morning to discuss an executive order requiring masks in city limits.

Last week, commissioners declined to take up an emergency order from Mayor Bill Mutz.

“We had hoped that the city commission would make a city-wide mandated policy for the city of Lakeland which would kind of normalize mask wearing for our customers,” said Chris McArthur, the owner of Black & Brew, a cafe in downtown Lakeland.

Employees have worn masks for months. This week, he put up signs in the window that say “Masks Required.”

“We’re giving customers a week to get used to it and then starting next Monday it will be required for customers to place an order,” said McArthur.

Lakeland’s Chamber of Commerce has its own online database detailing precautions businesses are taking.

You can learn more about the city’s consumer choices program on the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce website.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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