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St. John's County hears from public regarding possible mandatory mask ordinance

Last week, commissioners voted 3-2 to "strongly recommend businesses require customers to wear masks."

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — St. John’s County Commissioners held a meeting Tuesday to discuss a mandatory mask policy and heard from people in the community on whether or not they were in favor of the change.

Last week, commissioners voted 3-2 to "strongly recommend businesses require customers to wear masks."

During this meeting, they took public comment on the possible mandate. Most of the public commentary was split, with some saying the policy could help improve the rapid increase in COVID-19 numbers while others said that a mask policy infringes on their rights.

District 5 Commissioner Henry Dean said the spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida and the science behind masks pushed him to propose the new program, which is a part of Pledge St. Johns County, a program that offers businesses the opportunity to commit to CDC guidelines and ensure St. Johns County residents, visitors and employees are safe and comfortable in their establishments.

Dean said last Tuesday, he fully intended to propose an ordinance that requires everyone to wear masks inside public buildings if a growing number of people continued to go into St. Johns County businesses without masks.

“I’m trying to do this in a way that we could go the residents and visitor’s cooperation without forcing a mandate, and let’s see how it goes," he explained.