Collier mask mandate extended through April of 2021

Posted at 8:25 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 20:26:07-04

COLLIER COUNTY — Masks are now going to be required inside Collier County businesses until April of next year.

The decision from County Commissioners came after hours of public comment Thursday night.

On Friday, we spoke with a business that's going to have to comply with the extended mandate. At Golden Gate Traffic School, owner Joe Rivera said the extended mandate isn’t going to affect him much.

“We’ve been doing the masks before the mandate went into effect. So people would ask, do I have to wear one? I would say yeah, when you’re coming into class," said Rivera.

Rivera said he hasn’t had a single student yet refuse to come in because he requires masks, but Commissioner Bill McDaniel, who voted against the mandate, said he believes businesses should have the option.

“I’ve never been in opposition of wearing a mask. I’m in opposition of the mandate. I want my businesses to have that right and choice," said McDaniel.

While the County will be requiring masks, the City of Naples so far has not.

"What we're actually seeing is people flocking to businesses, shops, restaurants and the like where masks are not required," said McDaniel.

But that’s a concern that Rivera doesn’t share.

“We’re not going to go all the way downtown to go get a sandwich because they don’t have a mask. They’re still going to frequent the businesses that they do," said Rivera.

Ultimately the decision was close, with three commissioners for it, and two against, but Rivera said if it helps stop the spread of the virus, it’s for the best.

“If you can save someone else, or prevent someone else from getting it, why not?" said Rivera.

The mandate will only be enforced by county code enforcement moving forward, and they’ll only respond if someone reports an infraction. Businesses could face a $500 fine if they don’t comply.