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Fort Myers City Council votes against mandating masks

Posted at 8:43 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 20:46:01-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers City Council voted against a mask mandate for the city.

The mask mandate was first brought up at the council in July when a special meeting was called to address the issue. The council voted against a mandate four votes to three votes.

Councilman Johnny Streets brought mask mandate issue to the council because he does not believe the country is anywhere near a vaccine or cure. Streets also says it's alarming how many young adults are testing positive and dying from the virus.

Streets feels the City is responsible for the health and safety of the public.
Conversely, council member Kevin Anderson is not convinced a mandate is needed.

"At the special July 9 meeting there was no appetite for a mask mandate and I don’t believe there is any appetite at this point either," says Anderson.

Councilman Anderson has first-hand experience with the virus as he tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March.

"My case was very mild, but there are people who have suffered greatly from this virus. However, the numbers are dropping and I don’t think a mandate is appropriate," says Anderson.

Local jewelry shop, Dana Tyler, does not currently require shoppers to wear masks. The store manager Miranda Smith thinks it would be tough if the burden is on the store to enforce a mandate.

"I think it would definitely be tough for businesses. We want our customers to be comfortable, so if it's enforced to where businesses and customers could be fined if they don’t have masks on I think that would be tough on businesses," says Smith.

Instead, the store focuses on employees wearing masks.

"We don’t take our masks off when there are customers in the store, but if a customer does or does not want to wear a mask it's up to them," says Smith.

In Southwest Florida, Sanibel Island, Punta Gorda, and Fort Myers Beach have all implemented emergency mask mandates.