Pinellas County voted Tuesday afternoon on whether to require mandatory face coverings for the entire county. After discussing the three separate drafts and hearing from several public commentators, the motion was passed. Tampa Bay's Pinellas County mask requirement will go into effect this evening.

The ordinance, which can be viewed as PDF file under Universal Masks Draft Emergency Ordinance Option, that was settled upon mandates masks in all public indoor buildings. 

The ordinance also states a fine for violators. Individuals and businesses would first receive a warning to cover up, with penalties increasing from $100 for the first citation to $250 for the second, and $500 for the third time.

The mandate lists several exceptions, including those with medical issues that would be exacerbated by wearing a mask, and minors under the age of 18.

The Commissioners listened to a number of public callers and health experts before coming to a decision, eventually making the amendment that parental discretion would be decided for minors.

Schools, fire stations, and courthouses were given exception in all three ordinances and were instructed to follow their own standards.

The motion passed 6-1, with only Commissioner Kathleen Peters in opposition. Peters expressed that while she supported wearing masks, she did not want to mandate them.

The order allows for face coverings to be improvised when a mask is not available from clothing and household items made from fabric as long as it covers the nose and mouth and can stay on the face.

The mandate will officially go into effect on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place throughout Pinellas County's State of Local Emergency currently set to end on July 3.*

The county can review the State of Emergency on a weekly basis to decide whether or not it will end or be extended.

 

On Monday, Hillsborough County also implemented a face-covering mandate, with certain exceptions, similar to what is currently in place in Orlando and Orange County.

The Florida Keys will be requiring masks for all visitors for at least until June 2021.

The Polk County city, Lakeland, has decided to forego a mask mandate at this time.

*This story has been updated.

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