Suncoast residents and businesses are being urged to use face masks

Bradenton is the latest city to adopt COVID-19 mask ordinance

Suncoast residents and businesses are being urged to use face masks
Mask Requirements

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -

As coronavirus cases continue to soar across the state of Florida more mask mandates are going into effect. From specific businesses to citywide ordinances, some have chosen to mandate it, while others are encouraging residents, visitors and businesses to wear a face covering.

Mask Requirements

On Friday, July 17th, the City of Bradenton’s emergency ordinance, which passed unanimously at a special meeting went into effect. This emergency ordinance lasts for 60 days unless repealed or extended. This ordinance states that Bradenton businesses are required to post signs recommending that customers wear masks in public and does not require the public to wear face coverings and it does not require businesses to force them to.

“Enforceability is really difficult, you can’t have law enforcement officers walking up and down the sidewalk looking for people without masks on.,” say’s Jeannie Roberts, Communication Coordinator for the City of Bradenton.

Mask acceptance is on the rise across the nation as more people test positive for Covid-19. CDC analyzed data from an internet survey of a national sample of 503 adults during April 7–9 and found that about 62% said they would follow the newly announced recommendations to wear a face mask when outside the home. A repeat survey during May 11-13 showed that the percentage of adults endorsing face mask wearing increased to more than 76%.

Roberts say’s, “Education is what’s important right now, and we want to help people see the sign everywhere they go in these places of businesses in Bradenton.”

The City of Holmes Beach currently has a mandatory mask order inside businesses. Non-compliance will result in a $250 fine, and if officials catch you a second time, that fine will go up to $500.

“They have signs on all of their businesses and just like when you go to a business and it says no shoes, no shirt, no service, they have a no mask, no entry. All of the people are being very compliant, we haven’t had a lot of complaints. The first weekend we had a couple of people that were hesitant and gave problems to the business owners, who eventually called us. Since then, we haven’t had any other complaints,” states William Tokajer, Chief of Police for the City of Holmes Beach.

After months of adjusting to wearing a face-covering, according to several Suncoast officials there seems to be an overwhelming support from both business owners and residents in cities that already have mask mandates in place.

“I can’t even think of a challenge, it’s just been accepted wholeheartedly by the residents and by the owners of the business. It’s really gone over well,” says Dan Murphy, Mayor of Anna Maria Island.

The City of Sarasota states that they have yet to issue any citations for non-face mask use and have thousands of masks available to offer to residents, visitors and businesses.

Here’s the list of mask orders in the Suncoast region:

SARASOTA COUNTY:

City of Sarasota:

Anyone over the age of 18 is required to wear face coverings in any indoor establishment within the city's limits and outdoors when it's not possible to properly social distance.

MANATEE COUNTY:

Bradenton:

Bradenton businesses are required to post signs recommending that customers wear masks in public. The ordinance does not require the public to wear face coverings and it does not require businesses to force them to.

Longboat Key:

The town commission voted to enact a mandatory face-covering order as of Friday, July 3. Masks are required for everyone in indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing is not possible.

City of Holmes Beach:

The city of Holmes Beach, located on Anna Maria Island, has a mandatory mask order inside businesses. Non-compliance will result in a $250 fine and, if officials catch you a second time, that fine will go up to $500. There are exceptions while people are eating or drinking in a restaurant.

Anna Maria Island:

Masks are required in inside buildings in Anna Maria Island. The fine is $50 though the ordinance excludes people who are seated and eating at restaurants, or people sitting in offices.

HARDEE COUNTY:

No countywide ordinance or mandate as of Friday, July 17th

DESOTO COUNTY:

No countywide ordinance or mandate as of Friday, July 17th

CHARLOTTE COUNTY:

No countywide ordinance or mandate as of Friday, July 17th

HIGHLANDS COUNTY:

No countywide ordinance or mandate as of Friday, July 17th

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