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Here's Where You Must Wear A Face Mask In Tampa Bay


(This list was updated on Oct. 21)

With more than 700,000 cases of coronavirus, Florida has among the highest number of instances.

On Aug. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to move forward with the third phase of reopening the state, which permits restaurants and bars to open at full capacity.

Here's how these changes have impacted the mask policies across the greater Tampa Bay region.

Pinellas County: Pinellas County requires that citizens wear face coverings (defined as “material that covers your nose and mouth and remains affixed") in outdoor places. However, a mask is not required if a person is social distancing and there are less than 10 people in the area. Additionally, for persons under 18 years old, use of a face covering is at the discretion of the person’s parent. For more information, visit Pinellas County's .

Hillsborough County: Face masks are still required in all businesses, including nonprofits and not-for-profit businesses, open to the public. The exception to the mask mandate pertains to children under 5 years old. The order does not apply to private clubs and religious organizations. The order is similar to the order mandated by the city of Tampa. For more, visit Hillsborough County's coronavirus webpage.

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Pasco County: Like Hillsborough and Pinellas, Pasco County does require face coverings, but in most indoor public places. The order does not require masks in schools, daycares, and churches, although the development of protection procedures is encouraged. On Oct. 20, commissioners voted to keep the mandate in place. For more information, visit Pasco County's coronavirus webpage.

Hernando County: Masks are not required, but they are encouraged, as is social distancing. The county also encourages residents to act in accordance to Health Department and CDC guidelines. Additionally, the county has announced that it will be moving forward with reopening, as the Hernando County Public Library plans to move to full capacity. For more information, visit Hernando County's coronavirus webpage.

Polk County: Polk County does not require that residents wear a mask in public places. Lakeland in particular is easing its mask mandate, following the executive order by DeSantis that banned fines against individuals who did not wear masks. Residents are still encouraged to wear masks. Winter Haven also will allow its mask mandate to expire on Oct. 15. For more information, visit Polk County's coronavirus webpage.

Manatee County: Following the Phase 3 executive order, Manatee County has repealed its mandatory mask resolution, but still maintains that persons should wear masks when outside. Manatee County is also distributing 40,000 free cloth masks that are available at public libraries in the county. For more, visit Manatee County's coronavirus webpage.

Sarasota County: Sarasota County still maintains its mask ordinance, which encourages individuals to wear a mask, and also allows private businesses to require masks. The mask ordinance will continue through Oct. 28. Like Manatee County, Sarasota County has distributed 40,000 free masks. For the latest from Sarasota County, visit its coronavirus webpage.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Mary Shedden is news director at WUSF.
Ayesha Faisal