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City of Lakeland to consider mandatory face mask ordinance

If it gets approved, Lakeland will be the third city in the Tampa Bay area to do so, following Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Credit: lakelandgov.net

LAKELAND, Fla. — The city of Lakeland is set to determine if residents will be required to wear face masks as reported COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the state of Florida.

If it gets approved, Lakeland will be the third city in the Tampa Bay area to do so, following Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Lakeland City Commission will hold a specially called meeting at 9 a.m. Monday to consider the order within the city's corporate limits.

The proposal comes as there was growing concern regarding COVID-19 cases in Florida during a task force meeting.

The state's climb in daily cases reached it's latest record with 4,049 cases reported Saturday making it the largest single-day spike in positive case reports since tracking began. A trend the state has been breaking since June 11.

“The growing concern expressed at our recent Re-open Lakeland Task Force meeting underscored the need to provide more enforcement capability for business owners through mask requirements while indoors. Meanwhile, positive test rates continue to climb and the healthcare system is even more alarmed," Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said. 

While the specifics are yet to be determined, the ordinance proposed seems similar to those that went into effect at 5 p.m. on June 19 in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

In Tampa, you now need to wear a mask anytime you're inside a public space where you can't stay 6 feet away from other people. Those who do not comply will face a civil citation. 

While in St. Petersburg, all employees at local businesses must wear face masks or coverings inside parts of their buildings that are open to the public. The ordinance applies to all establishments including bars, restaurants, gyms, retail shops, entertainment centers, barbershops, salons and more.

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are set to discuss countywide mask ordinances Monday as well.

Anyone interested in watching the meeting can do so here or on the 10 Tampa Bay Facebook page.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Florida: Where we stand with cases, deaths and hospitalizations

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