PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — On Tuesday, Pinellas County commissioners approved a new mandatory mask ordinance as COVID-19 continues to be a threat to the community. The ordinance will go into effect Wednesday, June 24 at 5 p.m.
Parental discretion applies to all minors.
The Board of County Commissioners voted 6-1 to require masks to be worn in indoor public spaces throughout Pinellas County.
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Restaurants and bars must spread out customers to prevent congregating. They will only serve seated customers.
Face masks are mandatory for most indoor places in the county, however, there are a few exceptions:
- The mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- It does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
- It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public.
- If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult.
- Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
- Exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, is permitted without a face covering.
- Restaurant and bar staff must wear a face covering while on duty and while directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customers are inside or outside. Customers can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage when seated and social distancing.
- Restaurants and bars must position chairs and tables so that parties of one or more are separated by six feet and patrons are not standing at the bar or congregating in any area.
- Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place.
The face mask ordinance will also be enforced as a non-criminal local ordinance violation, in addition to other enforcement remedies including:
- A warning
- A non-criminal ordinance violation citation that levies a fine
- Injunctive relief through a complaint filed in Circuit Court
- Misdemeanor arrest or a Notice to Appear for Repeat Violations
Anyone not wearing a mask can be issued a local ordinance violation citation to appear in county court if they refuse to put on a mask after being given a warning by a law enforcement officer.
Any person or business in violation of the rules could be fined $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for the third violation.