KEY WEST, Fla. (WJW) — One Florida county that houses a popular tourist destination is mandating the wearing of masks until June 2021.
According to the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, the board voted Wednesday to make facial coverings mandatory throughout Monroe County, effective immediately.
Officials say facial coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn in business establishments and other public settings where there is a roof overhead.
The ordinance applies to employees and customers. Exceptions include when seated to eat and drink in a restaurant or bar and while exercising in a gym if at least six feet away from other people.
The Florida Keys, which are popular tourist destinations, are in Monroe County. County officials say the City of Key West and other municipalities may adopt ordinances with different requirements.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Key West already had this strict ordinance in place.
According to the newspaper, facial coverings are mandatory until June 1, 2021.
Additionally, officers can issue a citation of up to $500 to people or businesses violating the face covering mandate.
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners says a covering over the nose and mouth may include a face mask, homemade mask, or other cloth, silk, or linen covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering.
Medical and surgical face masks, such as N95 masks, should be reserved for health care personnel and other first responders with the greatest need for such personal protective equipment.
Children 6 years old or younger are not required to wear a mask.
The mandate comes at a time when studies predict Florida as the next coronavirus epicenter.
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