Lakeland lets citywide mask mandate expire

Polk County

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – People in Lakeland will soon have the freedom to choose whether to wear a mask in public, if businesses allow it.

City commissioners are allowing the city’s mask mandate to expire at 5 p.m. on Monday, officials tell News Channel 8, but are still encouraging people to wear masks. Businesses are allowed to require face coverings.

The order, which went in effect to July to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, required residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces or face a fine of up to $250. However, no fines were ever issued by the city.

City officials said a recent order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which prohibits local governments from fining people who don’t wear masks, “helped in the decision process to let the Mask Resolution expire.”

Lakeland is the second local government in Tampa Bay to stop instituting a mask requirement. Manatee County voted to repeal its countywide mask mandate in September.

Both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will consider whether or not to extend their mask mandates sometime this week.

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