City of Tampa hands out more than 50,000 free face masks

A day after a mandatory mask ordinance went into effect across Tampa, the city is doing what they can to make sure residents can comply by handing out free masks to those who needed them.

"They say this is an airborne kind of illness so it spreads,” said Tampa resident, Jan Gunn.” So if you protect your mouth, your nose, you’re safeguarding not only yourself but others.”

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For Mayor Jane Castor, she believes that masks can make all the difference. With COVID-19 cases on the rise once again in the Bay Area, she said she's willing to do whatever she can to slow the spread.

"I think it's really important to wear the mask not only for your own protection but others," said Gunn.

Friday night, a mandatory mask ordinance went into effect across the City of Tampa. The mandate states that unless you're eating or drinking if you're in a public place where you can't completely social distance, you have to wear a mask. If you don't, you could be cited.

"They see the need to do it, so you got to do it. You have to follow regulations," said Francisco Vega, a Tampa resident.

Saturday, hundreds of people got in line to get their free face-covering compliments of the city.

"It's great that they give them out for free because that's the best way to do it so people will do it," said Vega.

Gunn does admit is a bit of an inconvenience. "You know it's hard wearing the mask, breathing and stuff like that," she said.

However, she told FOX 13 that if she can do her part to keep herself and others healthy, it's an easy choice.

"If we all do what we need to do, I think we'll all be in a better place soon," Gunn explained.

On the other side of the bridge, a similar ordinance also went into effect Friday night. In St. Petersburg, employees are now required to wear a mask while at work. Customers are still able to decide whether or not they want to wear a mask while in those businesses.

The city of Tampa said it handed out more than 50,000 free face coverings on Saturday.