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Leon County commissioners vote not to lift mask mandate

Posted at 5:18 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 11:17:51-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The mask mandate continues in Leon County despite limited enforcement and a yes for countywide fall sports after an initial vote no earlier this month.

"They deserve the privilege, the opportunity to play and those parents deserve the choice to say whether not their kids can play," said Nick Maddox, a Leon County commissioner.

Commissioners said they aren't forgetting the health risk for athletes and those who come out to support, with set guidelines for teams to follow.

That is especially true for big events like Florida State University's Invitational next week.

For local and statewide sporting events COVID-19 screening for athletes and spectators will be required, a change from the original requirement to test athletes.

Only one parent per athlete will be allowed at games and spectators will be socially distant.

"We don't know where this disease is going to go," said Bill Proctor, a Leon County commissioner. "Keep our foot on the brake. This is a deadly situation."

Not everyone was in support of the move but agreed when it came to the mask mandate.

When asked for recommendations on masks, Leon County Department of Health director Claudia Blackburn said the health department is in favor of keeping the mask mandate in place.

Blackburn says the department's support of the mask mandate falls in line with the state surgeon general.

"The surgeon general still has a public health advisory out that does recommend wearing face coverings when around other people and also maintaining social distancing hand hygiene and avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people," said Blackburn.

Blackburn says they are still seeing the majority of cases in people ages 18-24 years old.

Although the county cannot cite anyone for not wearing a mask they still feel there is a need to err on the side of caution.