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Confused about where to wear masks? Making sense of mandates (or lack thereof)

Here's what you need to know about where facial coverings still required
'Face Masks in Palm Beach County' graphic
Posted at 4:45 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 16:45:11-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Although mask mandates in Florida are over, that doesn't necessarily mean that residents and visitors can pack away their masks until the next pandemic.

One day after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending all county and municipal restrictions related to COVID-19, Palm Beach County commissioners Tuesday lifted the countywide mask mandate.

But masks will still be required in certain locations throughout the county.

Where do I have to wear a mask?

Palm Beach County employees and patrons will still be required to wear facial coverings inside government buildings. That includes the offices of the property appraiser and tax collector.

Despite the governor's order, a federal mask mandate still remains in effect for all U.S. government property. That includes U.S. courthouses and post offices, regardless of location.

What about schools?

The governor's order only applies to municipal and county governments, meaning each school district and individual institutions can set their own policies.

Dr. Donald Fennoy explains rapid COVID-19 testing in Palm Beach County schools
Palm Beach County Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy explains how the raid COVID-19 tests will be administered in schools.

That allows the School District of Palm Beach County to continue enforcing its mask requirement for students and staff.

What about businesses?

Because mandates aren't the same as policies, businesses will still be able to set their own rules about wearing masks.

Many businesses, including grocery stores, already have mask-wearing policies in place. Among the stores to already require facial coverings are Target, Walmart and Publix.

'Masks at Publix' graphic

A Publix spokeswoman said Tuesday that "no changes" to the current policy are being made at this time.

How is mask-wearing being enforced?

It isn't. At least not by law enforcement, since there is no crime being committed by not wearing a mask.

Of course, it's ultimately up to each individual location to enforce its own policies.