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Beginning at 5:00 p.m. today, June 24, 2020, people will be required to wear face coverings while in any indoor establishment in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance requiring that citizens wear face coverings in most indoor public places, and restaurants and bars to implement new safety and anti-crowding measures.The countywide ordinance takes effect Wednesday, June 24, at 5 p.m., and will remain in effect through the duration of Pinellas County’s State of Local Emergency.The ordinance defines a face covering as a material that covers the nose and mouth and remains affixed or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, may be factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.Requirements:
Carefully weighed decisionThe Board made its decision based on COVID-19 trending data, the advice of the County’s leading public health officials, and CDC guidance. Through the Zoom virtual meeting platform, the Board also took several hours of public comment.Dr. Ulyee Choe, the Florida Department of Health’s Director in Pinellas County, pointed out that the county’s rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases is up to 219 per day, with a positive test rate of about 12 percent, whereas the positivity rate was only 1 to 2 percent five weeks ago. Dr. Angus Jameson, medical director for Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services, noted that COVID-19 cases in the greater Tampa Bay area have increased from about 125 per day three weeks ago to about 1,000 cases a day, raising concerns that COVID-19 will continue to spread exponentially and overwhelm the healthcare system.EnforcementThe Board elected to adopt the emergency order by ordinance to allow it to be enforced as a non-criminal local ordinance violation, in addition to other enforcement remedies. Remedies include:
More InformationPinellas Emergency Ordinance 20-14Pinellas County’s COVID-19 Response & RecommendationsPinellas COVID-19 Data Dashboard