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To Mask, Or Not To Mask? Kristin Dozier, Leon County Commission To Weigh The Question

Two females huddle together wearing masks over their noses and mouths
Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash
Some communities and businesses are requiring masks in certain areas as cases of COVID-19 climb around the country.

As new cases of COVID-19 infections spike to daily records, Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier is asking the question: to mask, or not to mask?

Dozier is seeking input on whether the county should require face masks to be worn in public.

“Should Leon County mandate face coverings or masks be worn when we’re in public and can’t maintain social distancing?” Dozier asked in a Facebook post Friday.

Within a day, she had received more than 2,000 responses, on both sides of the issue.

“Today I read more than 2,100 Facebook comments on posted in 27 hours—It was almost like a public hearing! Although a clear majority supports a mandate, there are a lot of good questions and issues to discuss at our Special County Commission meeting on June 23rd at 3pm.” Dozier said on twitter.

Governor Ron DeSantis has left mask decisions to local officials and says he won’t issue a statewide mandate.

“This has to be voluntary because the Constitution is not suspended just because there is a virus,” DeSantis said during a recent press conference. “You do have a right to protest, you have a right to go to religious service, all these other things.”

The Florida Medical Association, which represents doctors, is recommending face masks be worn in public and is encouraging cities, counties, and municipalities to come up with rules. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend face masks be worn in public.

Several cities and counties have moved ahead with mask mandates. Orange County is requiring public use with no fines for people who violate the rule. Tampa has done the same but with sanctions. So has Miami-Dade County.

The Leon County Commission’s hearing comes as the latest Sunday numbers show the county has a median age of infection of 30, compared to 44 statewide. Leon had 541 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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