SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - If you were watching at Sarasota’s Bayfront Park on Tuesday, you’d see a mixture of masked and unmasked residents and visitors. By the end of the week, the number of those not wearing masks could increase, due to the city’s mask mandate expiring on Thursday.
Vice Mayor Erik Arroyo clarified what he says has been confusion this week, surrounding the end of the mandate. “The decision came because the governor said the cities could no longer have ordinances like the kind that we had in place, so we had to find an alternative,” he said. “This alternative, this proclamation, will be permanent, as opposed to the ordinance which had to be extended every 60 days.”
Arroyo said the new proclamation will feature similar language as the mandate and he believes it will be as effective.
Meanwhile some residents of both Sarasota and Manatee counties think not renewing the mandate was the wrong decision.
“I think they should continue it. It’s outrageous that they’re stopping the mandate. I think we all have to be careful of other people as well as ourselves. And wearing a mask is being considerate of other people more than even ourselves,” says Sarasota resident Kip O’Neill.
“I highly disagree. All I can say is if you’ve had anyone close to you that you’ve lost to COVID, you wouldn’t even question wearing a mask,” says Manatee County resident Francine Grillo.
Others think the decision was spot on.
“I think it’s a good idea only because all of us are respectful now. We know when we’re out in this weather, we can take the mask down. You go inside, you put it on. So I think all us know how to protect one another, we don’t really need, a mandate,” says Denise Mannino, of Sarasota.