In response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the concern for residents, visitors and business owners, Mount Dora City Council unanimously passed a resolution requiring face coverings be worn by employees and patrons inside public places throughout the City.
Starting on Friday, July 10, every person working, living, visiting or doing business in the City of Mount Dora is required to wear a face covering, consistent with the current CDC guidelines, while inside any public place. This includes businesses on U.S. 441 like Publix, Walmart and Target, as well as the small businesses in downtown and the rest of the city. Face coverings are not required outdoors.
The new resolution also requirespeople within the City of Mount Dora to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart while in public places.
There are exemptions to the City’s face mask requirement including:
Children under the age of two.
People for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition or disability.
Persons working in a business or profession who are not interacting with the public and who are able to maintain social distancing from co-workers.
Persons working in or within portions of a business or profession who do not have face to face interaction with others.
Persons exercising while maintaining social distancing.
In recent weeks, as COVID-19 cases continued to climb in Florida, Mayor Cathy Hoechst had encouraged residents through mass emails and phone calls to voluntarily wear masks for the sake of public health. That effort was met with limited success, so the temporary resolution requiring face coverings was the Council's next step (below is a downloadable copy of the resolution).
The Mayor and council members stated they been contacted by concerned residents encouraging them to mandate masks. Councilman Cal Rolfson shared that a couple informed him they wouldn’t return to Mount Dora businesses until masks were mandated or the threat from the novel coronavirus had passed. Meanwhile, Sharon Crow, a downtown business owner, told the Council that although she required masks in her store, some of her patrons expressed their unease that so many people were not following the CDC’s face mask guidelines in Mount Dora.
"It is the intent of Resolution 20-128 to achieve voluntary compliance; however, social distancing is required in all public places (inside and outdoors) and face coverings are required inside public places (not outdoors) subject to CDC listed exceptions," stated Mount Dora City Attorney Sherry Sutphen via email. "Furthermore, it is the intent of the City to monitor the requirements set forth in Resolution 20-128 and as data and information change, the regulation parameters can be increased or decreased according to the status of the virus. Based on the current intent of the Resolution, education of the requirements is the City’s goal for enforcement."
As Florida’s COVID-19 cases continue to be monitored, the details of the ordinance will be reviewed again at upcoming City Council meetings in case updates are warranted.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. For local things to do, click here. For the area's entertainment calendar, click here.