Local counties remind people mask mandates still in effect, even under Phase 3 of reopening

Posted at 10:16 PM, Sep 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 04:41:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. — To wear a mask or not, that’s a question on the minds of many Floridians following Governor Desantis’s announcement that the state is moving to Phase 3 of reopening.

But several local counties are reminding people that mask mandates are still in place, and the governor’s announcement does not overrule them.

If you live in Hillsborough County, there’s a good chance you got a text message Sunday afternoon from the county, which reminded people: “Face masks are still required in Hillsborough County when in any indoor location, other than your home.”

While the governor’s executive order does lift the fines associated with COVID-19-related enforcement, you’ll still need a face covering to enter buildings in several Tampa Bay cities and counties.

Some of those include:

  • Hillsborough County
  • Pasco County
  • Pinellas County
  • Manatee county

Several cities in other counties have also adopted their own mask ordinances.

Medical experts are still urging people to continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

“Just because the governor says it’s now okay to go to restaurants and the restaurants can open up and that we can crowd back in and resume our lives, unfortunately, the governor is not a public health expert or an epidemiologist and what’s going to really happen if we do this is we’re gonna see an exponential growth in cases,” said Dr. Unnasch.

The CDC and local experts recommend cloth face coverings as one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow the spread of the virus.

Since July, the state of Florida has managed to bring the average percent positivity rate from the teens, to down around 5-percent.

“It’s up to everybody now individually to take personal responsibility to protect themselves, protect those around them, and protect their families by continuing to wear masks and continuing to maintain as much of a social distance as possible,” said Dr. Unnasch.

These are numbers medical experts continue to monitor, so if the Phase 3 reopening does have an impact on our COVID-19 cases, those are numbers we should start to see in the next few weeks.

For a full list of everything included in Phase 3 of reopening, click here.