Pinellas County commissioners approve mandatory face mask ordinance

Pinellas County commissioners voted for an ordinance making face masks mandatory in most indoor, public spaces, to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Tuesday’s county commission meeting lasted almost eight hours, including several hours of public comment from nearly 100 residents, but around 9:30 p.m., commissioners passed the mandate in a 6 to 1 vote.

One commissioner tallied up the comments and said about 60 people were for the mask ordinance and about 40 people were against it.

Pinellas County's ordinance echoes similar mandates already put in place in St. Pete and Tampa. The ordinance applies to indoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

The measure also stresses CDC virus prevention guidelines like hand-washing.

There are some exceptions to the mandate. If you in a business and there are fewer than 10 people inside, or everyone is able to properly socially distance, masks are not required.

Religious rituals are exemption from the mandate, so long as social distancing is possible.

The ordinance will go into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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