Local officials discuss mask mandates as cases in Florida continue to increase

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jul 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 22:39:31-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Coronavirus cases continue to climb. Earlier today Florida shattered Coronavirus records. The state reported more than 15,000 new cases in a single day. That is the highest count for any state since March during the early stages of the pandemic.

The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams says we can turn this around, by encouraging all Americans to wear masks and follow CDC guidelines.

Robert Hawkes with Florida Gulf Coast University agreed, saying from a medical standpoint the mask is vital.

“We know that it protects both the wearer and it protects everyone around them because all this will help decrease the spread of the air droplets which could contain COVID 19,” said Robert Hawkes, Director of the Physicians Assistant Program at FGCU.

However, mask mandates have caused controversy here in Southwest Florida. Cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral do not mandate masks, but areas like Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach do.

Tuesday at 9 am Charlotte County will be discussing a possible mask mandate order. Not wanting to speak ahead of the meeting a county representative told me in a statement.

“The Charlotte County Commission has scheduled a public hearing to consider a county ordinance on face coverings during its meeting on Tuesday", said Brian Gleason, Charlotte County Communication Manager.

A little further south Collier County will also be holding a mask mandate meeting Tuesday morning. Commissioner Andy Solis tells me, he wants to protect not only county residents but visitors as well.

“That issue not only affects the hotels, it affects our restaurants, it affects all of our businesses. Tourism is such an interval part of our economy that we need to make sure that everyone is safe” said Andy Solis, Collier County Commissioner District 2.

He says it’s time for a change.

“So I think it’s time that we need to take this action to send a statement. One to the rest of Florida and the rest of the country that we’re taking this seriously, and that we want everyone in Collier County to join us, and keep not only ourselves healthy, but everyone else healthy” said Solis.

Lee County does not require masks at this time.