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Brevard County Decides Against Mask Mandate

Commission Chair Bryan Lober
Brevard County
The Florida Channel
Brevard County Commission Chair Bryan Lober proposed the mandate.

Brevard County commissioners have decided not to impose a mask mandate to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Commissioners instead approved a proclamation encouraging businesses to post their mask policy at the entrance to their businesses. 

The mandate would have applied to anyone at an indoor business, with exceptions for places of worship, children younger than 6 and people for whom wearing a mask would cause health issues.

Commission Chair Bryan Lober proposed the mandate. 

“Just keep in mind though, you’re always going to have a not-so-trivial percentage of people who unless they are required to do the right thing they will not,” Lober said in discussing the mandate with fellow commissioners.

Commissioner Kristine Isnardi opposed the mandate. She said educating people on mask use would work better. 

“I’ll do whatever I can on my end to educate people and to try to, you know, promote that,” said Isnardi.

“And again I’d be open to solutions that don’t require us to become mask police, because I don’t think it’s manageable at this point. I don’t think it’s something we can put on law enforcement.”

The commission heard from dozens of county residents, both for and against the mandate. 

Kim Orbeck, a retired nurse, urged the commission to support a mask mandate. 

“Are we going to protect the residents of Brevard County, or are we going to wait until we have numbers like our next-door neighbor Orange County before we take action?” said Orbeck.

“Too many people are not adhering to social distancing and mask guidelines issued by the CDC.”

David Neumann opposed the mandate. He said residents should be trusted to do the right thing. 

“They will do whatever it takes so that we can keep those liberties, but at the same time, having our freedom to make that choice. Outside of that, I would just recommend that you empower us as opposed to making a mandate.”

Neumann said the commission could use funds from the federal CARES Act to buy face masks to distribute to local businesses.