Charlotte County has a mask order in effect that requires people to wear a face covering in public places, especially where social distancing is difficult or not possible. This includes both employees of businesses as well as private citizens who are patronizing said businesses. This mask order applies to all indoor and outdoor locations except for a person’s private residence. According to the order, businesses should also display signage's at their entrances to remind its staff and customers about the mask order, and to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the area. The standardized signage is available for download on the Charlotte County website.
As we’ve seen with several other counties in Florida, exemptions do apply to children below the age of two and those with medical conditions that would make wearing a facial covering too difficult. People are also allowed to open their masks when eating or to drink at food and beverage establishments.
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WHEREAS, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC"), Coronavirus Disease 2019 ("COVID-19") is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans by sneezing, speaking, and coughing, resulting in a serious threat to human health, including death; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has advised that a significant portion of individuals infected by COVID-19 lack symptoms making them unaware of the threat they may pose to others, and therefore has recommended in order "[t]o reduce the spread of COVID-19 ... that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain"; and
WHEREAS, on June 20, 2020, Scott A. Rivkees, M.D., as State Surgeon General and State Health Officer, issued a Public Health Advisory stating that with limited exceptions, "all individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible"; and
WHEREAS, based upon its demographics, the population of Charlotte County is particularly vulnerable to effects of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and protecting the health of its citizens and visitors is a high priority of the Board of County Commissioners; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners believe that all citizens, visitors, workers and business owners have a civic duty to safeguard the health of their fellow citizens and to demonstrate personal responsibility by helping to slow the spread of COVID -19; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. The above recitals are incorporated into this Resolution by the Board of County Commissioners by reference.
Section 2. Definitions. "Face covering" shall mean a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person's nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one's hands, whether store-bought or homemade, in accordance with CDC guidelines. "Social Distancing" shall mean keeping space between yourself and other people by staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people.
Section 3. Face Coverings Directed to be Worn When Social Distancing Cannot Be Maintained.
- a. Every person living, working, visiting or doing business in µnincorporated Charlotte County, including government buildings, shall, in the absence of social distancing, wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than a home or residence.
- b. Except as excluded in the State Surgeon General's Public Health Advisory of June 20, 2020, every person living, working, visiting or doing business in unincorporated Charlotte County, shall in the absence of social distancing, wear a face covering in any public outdoor location.
- c. All businesses shall direct business invitees to wear a face covering where social distancing is not available to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Appropriate signage should be placed at all entrances explaining the establishments' policy.
Section 4. Effective Date. That this resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption and shall automatically expire upon termination of the local state of emergency that has been declared by the County as a result of COVID-19.
PASSED and DULY ADOPTED this 28th day of July, 2020.