NAPLES, Fla. — Earlier today the City of Naples held a special meeting to discuss a resolution to mandate face coverings.
“The wearing of masks in businesses particularly in restaurants bars and that sort of thing are to protect other people from being infected. If you want to be on your own and walk around and be in your household or on the street that's your prerogative, as long as it’s not adversely affecting others,” said Councilman Paul Perry.
There were 3 possible options for the city to vote on. One being, to vote in favor of the city staff drafted resolution. Second to opt into the county resolution and lastly to do nothing. In a 3-4 vote council members chose not to opt-in to the county's resolution. Councilman Perry tells us he voted in favor of the mandate to protect you.
“I personally want to reduce the number of people that become ill. Many of whom end up with long-lasting effects even if it doesn't kill them, or die because of the disease until we can get to the point that we have a better solution,” said Councilman Perry.
Another big element according to Councilman Perry is the effect the mask mandate will have on businesses who wish to require masks upon entry into their establishment.
“People resent being told by a proprietor that they can't come in unless they are wearing a mask and with a mandate, it gives them something they can fall back on. They can say well the city is requiring I do it, so I don't have an option,” said Councilman Perry.
Mayor Teresa Heitmann of Naples says despite the outcome of today's meeting she sees compliance with the safety guidelines in place from residents
“So if we didn't have compliance, we didn't see that our community was trying to make sure that the safety of our residents and visitors weren't happening then we would make a decision of a firmer action,” said Mayor Teresa Heitmann.
However, as cases continue to rise she understands some of the publics' concerns with not mandating a mask requirement.
“ I was following the CDC guidelines, wearing a mask and I had Covid. It was a mild case and I survived. I just hope that people realize that just because we said we don’t want to mandate that there isn't a policy position on public safety for the Covid and the spread of Covid,” said Mayor Heitmann.
Fox 4 tried speaking with owners of a few businesses in the area, but they declined comment telling us, it is a very controversial issue.