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Face masks not required in Lakeland after mandate fails to make it to a vote

Posted at 12:39 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 04:52:23-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — A mandate to require face masks in the City of Lakeland failed to make it to a vote.

The motion to vote died from a lack of a second so it never got to the voting stage of the process.

“I am disappointed that we didn’t even get enough interest to get a vote on the topic,” Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said.

The measure is similar to mandates recently passed by the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County that require masks to be worn indoors.

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During Monday's meeting, city commissioners heard from Danielle Dummond, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Lakeland Regional Health and Dr. Steven Achinger of Watson Clinic.

Dr. Archinger said this is a "critical time point" to act and make a huge impact in the spread of the virus in Lakeland. He also said masks are the most cost-effective way of continuing to open the local economy in a safe manner.

"The more masks that we have being worn in a public space, the safer that public space is. No question," Dr. Archinger said.

During the meeting, Dr. Archinger compared asking the public to wear masks to second-hand smoke. He said banning smoking in public spaces wasn't a popular decision, but it protected those who were damaged by the choices of others.

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Dummond told commissioners that LRH has seen an increase in ventilator use. She said of the 50 ICU beds available at LRH, 48 are currently in use and, of those, 30 are COVID-19 positive patients.

Despite city commissioners hearing from Dummond and Dr. Achinger on why mandating masks to be worn in the city of Lakeland is important, nobody seconded Mayor William Mutz's motion to approve the executive order.

"Alright, so there is no motion to accept the executive order, and we will not do a mask mandate," Mayor Mutz said. "And the result of that will be in the numbers."

Watch the meeting and listen to public comments below: