LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland city commissioners have called another special meeting to discuss a citywide mask mandate for a second time. This comes after hundreds of business owners have taken it upon themselves to enforce policies of their own.
Black and Brew, a cafe in downtown Lakeland, now has a sign in its window with bold letters saying "Masks Required," a warning for customers that come Monday they will not be allowed inside without a face covering.
It's part of a push to keep the public healthy and businesses open, according to Heather Jackson, the founder of a Facebook group called Lakeland Business - Operation Face mask. Jackson has a running list of businesses which claim to require masks not only for their employees but also for customers.
"I think there are those of us who do want to be safe and be protected when we go out and we don’t know where to go to make that happen and I’m hoping, part of my plan with this list is to keep businesses going. Because I’m scared that if we have to have a second shut down some of these local businesses just won’t be able to make it back and that would be really sad for our entire community," Jackson said.
ABC Action News spoke with the owner of Black and Brew, Chris McArthur, who says customers have been overwhelmingly supportive of the decision.
McArthur says while customers won't have to keep a mask on while eating or drinking, he will ask customers to cover their faces while up and moving around the cafe.
The City of Lakeland will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday. Four 'yes votes' are needed for the mandate to pass.