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Leon County commissioners weigh mask mandate as COVID-19 cases spike statewide

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 18:38:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As cases of COVID-19 continue to jump statewide, local governments are trying to figure out how to stop the spread.

Gadsen County is the only one in the Big Bend area with a mask requirement. As it continues to fine tune it's policy, Leon County is weighing whether to enact at their own mask mandate.

That's why County commissioner Kristin Dozier asked Facebook.

"The comments started rolling in within seconds," said Dozier. "I've never seen this many comments and shares on a Facebook post."

In about a day, more than 2,000 comments and shares weighed in, with people for and against the mandate.

"I think it's a good idea," Mary Lam said. "You can never be too careful, especially with something like this."

Leon County tabled the idea just last week but decided to revisit the idea this week.

"The special meeting was called by our chair this weekend because of the incredible spike in cases we've seen," said Dozier.

There is no specific proposal on the table right now. Instead commissioners will review what other counties have done, like Gadsden.

"It's going well," said Brenda Holt, a commissioner in Gadsden County. "But we're still encouraging people because they're not doing it all the time."

Gadsden County first enacted the mask mandate in April, requiring people to have a face covering whenever out and about and unable to social distance.

But, there has been push back.

"They say it's their right, but it's not their right to infect other people," Holt asserted.

Now, Holt says she wants to look into strengthening the mandate in Gadsden.

"I think the mandate needs more teeth," Holt said. "People need to understand we don't have a hospital, not one respirator in the whole county."

Gadsden will revisit its mandate Friday. So far, no one has been ticketed for violating the mandate.

Meanwhile, Leon County will vote on its mask mandate on Tuesday.