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Hillsborough County Adopts Face Mask Ordinance

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Face masks will now be required when entering a business in Hillsborough County.

The county's Emergency Policy Group adopted the ordinance on a vote of 5-3 Monday after more than two hours of debate.

Non-compliance with the ordinance could result in misdemeanor charges. Sheriff Chad Chronister, who voted against it, warned compliance could put a strain on the county's law enforcement agencies.

An attempt to remove the criminal penalty failed after county attorney Christine Beck said it would turn the ordinance into a "strong suggestion" to wear masks.

Read more: DeSantis Says Coronavirus Masks Should Be Voluntary, Citing Constitution

It comes as COVID-19 cases in the county are rising quickly. Before the vote, the group heard from representatives from the county's hospitals about the possible impact of rising cases.

The cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg have already enacted their own mask requirements. Lakeland commissioners discussed a mask ordinance Monday but took no action.

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Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by , the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.