MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County is the latest to join several other counties in the Tampa Bay area to pass a mask mandate effective immediately.
Commissioners voted 4-3 to pass the mask mandate on Monday, after county hospitals started to reach capacity because of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases.
The health department says Manatee County has the 11th highest number of cases in the state.
"Those counties that have more individuals than us and fewer cases include Pasco, Seminole, Brevard and Volusia. What is the main difference between us and them at this point? Masks," said Dr. Jennifer Bencie, Florida Dept. of Health for Manatee County.
Effective immediately face coverings will be required in all indoor businesses and facilities. Children under the age of six are not required to wear masks.
People who do not follow the policy will be given a warning and will be fined for additional offenses.
Read the complete policy here.