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Masks required at Florida Keys businesses until 2021

After a few weeks of watching how visitors were acting, county leaders voted for mandatory masks inside businesses.

KEY WEST, Fla. — Pack your flip flops, sunscreen, swimsuit and a face-covering if you're heading to the Florida Keys. 

Monroe County commissioners voted unanimously to make masks mandatory for customers and employees who are going into businesses after voting against a similar measure right after reopening to visitors. 

Health News Florida said it only took county leaders a few weeks to see how people were acting when they decided to bring the issue back up. Then on Wednesday, they voted to require masks to anyone who was going anywhere with a roof. 

The ordinance is set to end on June 1, 2021, but commissioners said it's something they will revisit monthly before then.

The ordinance is countywide, but cities are allowed to opt-out.

The keys reopened to visitors on June 1, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman ordered anyone who works at a business and comes in contact with people will have to wear a mask. 

A practice of widespread wearing of facemasks in public, combined with lockdowns, could prevent future waves of COVID-19. That's according to new research unveiled Wednesday led by Cambridge and Greenwich universities in Britain. And, the more people who get on board, the less restrictive those lockdowns may need to be. 

"The research suggests that lockdowns alone will not stop the resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 and that even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can dramatically reduce transmission rates if worn by enough people, regardless of whether they show symptoms," Cambridge said in a statement summarizing the study.

The authors say widespread mask use would help buy time until a working vaccine can be found.

RELATED: Widespread facemask use can prevent another coronavirus wave, study finds

RELATED: Florida Keys will reopen to visitors June 1

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