CAPE CORAL — A week after Cape Coral voted against a mask mandate, the city is starting a new program.
It’s called “Mask Up Cape Coral” and it will be encouraging both people and businesses to wear masks in public.
Mayor Joe Coviello was one of the council members who voted for a mask mandate, but it didn’t pass. He says, this new educational campaign may be the next best thing.
“We’re going to be advertising that on the electronic billboards we have here in our city. There’s going to be a banner that’s put over the parkway on Del Prado," said Coviello.
Coviello says, the city wants people wearing masks, because he thinks it’s the only way they’re going to stop the spread.
“We’re all seeing the numbers in the State of Florida, as well as the county, as well as our city. They’re spiking, we’re hearing the dangers of the hospitals reaching capacity. If you can’t mandate it, what’s the next best thing? The next best thing is to educate," said Coviello.
Already, the city has seen businesses shut down due to the rising numbers. Businesses like Backstreets Sports Bar, which has a sign on its door, specifically referencing the COVID-19 spike.
“We’re going to lose some good quality businesses that have been around a long time. Why wouldn’t you wear a mask?” said Coviello.
The Fire Department is also going to be involved in the campaign. Fire Chief Ryan Lamb says the goal is to get 80% of people in the city to wear a mask.
“For some reason masks have become somewhat of a hot button issue for us, and so we want to kind of take out some of those, I guess the myths behind some of the masks and let people really know that there is good science and data behind this," said Lamb.
Coviello says, hopefully letting people know about that data could change the trend.
“As long as we get masks on people, then we’ve accomplished our goal," said Coviello.
The city also plans to highlight businesses on its website that are requiring masks indoors.