Instead of mask mandate, Lakeland turns to influencers to slow COVID-19

Lakeland is taking a creative approach to try and convince people to wear a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19. The city just kicked off a new media campaign dubbed “Mask up, COVID down.”

It draws upon so-called high profile “influencers” to use their social media platforms to spread the word about the importance of wearing a mask.

RELATED: Over 8,900 new Florida coronavirus cases reported in latest daily record; 39 new deaths

The person takes a selfie then writes why they wear one. 

Dr. Joy Jackson, head of the Polk County Health Department, wrote, “I wear a mask because it might save someone’s life!”

Commissioner Phillip Walker sent in a shot of him and his son.

He wrote, “We choose, as a family, to wear masks for the protection of others and especially in order to protect my son’s immune system, as he has a pre-existing condition.”

Communications Director Kevin Cook said he has some well-known movers and shakers who are going to be appearing soon.

“I don’t want to let the cat of the bag yet, because I want them to be a surprise,” he told FOX 13.

The city plans to post a new selfie on its social media daily.

RELATED: Lakeland food hall adds masks to the menu after city decides not to

The influencer project comes on the heels of a city commission decision earlier this week not to force people to wear a mask inside public places.

“Hopefully, this campaign will shed some light,” Cook explained. “Maybe those who are on the fence about wearing a mask, maybe we’ll be able to get them to do it.”