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St. Pete Mayor: Masks Still Needed As Businesses Reopen

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addresses the media on Tuesday.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said the state's order to enter Phase 3 reopening, lifting restrictions on bars and restaurants, has caused some confusion about what that means for local mask ordinances.

Pinellas County's mask order has not changed, Kriseman said Tuesday at a press conference outside Pinellas Ale Works in St. Petersburg. 

According to the order, Pinellas residents must wear face masks or coverings when they're indoors at public locations, with some exemptions. 

"I want it to be very clear for the community that the county order is still in effect as it relates to masks and wearing them indoors, that employees of businesses, that patrons of businesses, if you are indoors unless you are sitting at a table eating or drinking, you're supposed to wear a mask," Kriseman said.

Kriseman also said any business has the right to refuse service to customers who are not wearing a face covering, and added that businesses must continue to take safety precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The mayor praised the county for maintaining a low rate of positive coronavirus tests. Pinellas County has stayed below 5 percent for five weeks, he said.

Kriseman said that beginning Monday, city operations will largely return to normal. Libraries and recreation centers will be open, and permits for outdoor festivals will be issued.

And the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, rescheduled from March to late October because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will allow a limited number of in-person attendees, he said.

Kerry Sheridan is a reporter and co-host of All Things Considered at WUSF Public Media.