LAKELAND, Fla. — The City of Lakeland has passed a mask mandate Thursday after it failed to make it to a vote last week.
At last week’s meeting, officials didn’t have enough support to hold a vote so the motion to require masks died.
“I am disappointed that we didn’t even get enough interest to get a vote on the topic,” Mayor Bill Mutz said.
Now due to more COVID-19 cases, leaders voted 5-2 to enforce mask-wearing.
City documents state that advice from medical professionals say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk County, but especially Lakeland, could increase drastically if additional measures to slow the spread aren’t implemented.
According to the ordinance, leaders believe it’s now necessary for the city to enforce requiring a mask.
The mandate requires people to wear masks in certain public indoor locations when not maintaining social distancing.
There are several exceptions listed in the ordinance.
- Persons under the age of eight years old
- Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
- Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons
- Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other persons
- Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of their business or profession
- Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Persons eating or drinking
- Persons under the age of eighteen (18) years old while participating in youth sports
- Public safety, fire, and other life safety and health care personnel, as their protective equipment requirements, will be governed by their respective agencies
- Persons communicating with someone who is hearing impaired where the wearing of a face covering would impede communication, provided that social distancing is observed to the greatest extent practicable
- Persons for whom the requirement to wear a face-covering would cause a conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Leaders will also enforce a $250 penalty for people who violate the mandate.
The ordinance goes into effect Thursday at 5 p.m. and expires at 5 p.m. on August 3, if the city doesn’t extend it.