STUART, Fla. — There are no barriers or boundaries between Palm Beach County and Martin County, yet Martin County’s COVID numbers remain significantly lower than the counties to its south.
Still, county health leaders say they are remaining vigilant going into flu season and the holidays.
Martin County commissioners voted almost two weeks ago to remove a countywide mask mandate, and instead 'strongly recommended' facial coverings.
"They lifted the ban on them but the stories are still requiring you to wear mask, " said Keith Murphy, a Stuart resident.
Murphy takes walks with his dog Zoey by the waterfront in Downtown Stuart.
"People got their mask on. There's one over there that that's got it on, the other don't have it on," said Murphy.
Still even with no mask mandate, Martin County has managed to keep its COVID cases low. In the last seven days, cases went by 115 compared to St. Lucie County to its north, which had an increase of 306 cases, and Palm Beach County to the south with 1,748 new cases.
" Although they are doing wonderfully so far with numbers, we don't want to let our guard down," said Carol Ann Vitani with the Health Department in Martin County.
Vitani is a health officer for the state health department in Martin County. She attributes the success to maintaining lower COVID numbers to the size of the county and the effort put in by its residents.
"I think this is our new norm. We're getting used to it," she added.
Grace Coffee, another Stuart resident, is just getting used to resuming yoga with her long-time friend by the waterfront.
"So I just think we may have done that a month ago," said Grace.
Vitani said businesses and residents are being careful but reminds everyone what has helped.
" We want to continue to wash our hands, continue to wear a mask, continue to practice social distancing," said Vitani.