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St. Lucie County set to consider repealing mask mandate this week

County's positivity rate has remained below 10% for last 6 weeks
Posted at 9:43 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 00:00:14-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A mask mandate along the Treasure Coast may come to an end Tuesday.

St. Lucie County commissioners will discuss the mandate at their board meeting, set for 6 p.m.

"I know that it's our job to protect the vulnerable, but at the same time, it's not our job to dictate to you your life," said Commissioner Cathy Townsend.

The mandate has been in place since July.

Townsend said she's been trying to get it repealed for months.

"I've had two people email the office and say keep the masks," said Townsend. "Everybody else, hands down, has said to me in public, e-mailed me, called me, texted, said to end the masks."

Dr. Mark Pamer, a Port St. Lucie pulmonologist, said it's too soon.

"It seems to make sense at the superficial level when you're vaccinating more people it might be time to reduce the mask mandate, but you don't take your parachute off halfway down the trip," said Pamer.

For the last six weeks, St. Lucie County's positivity rate has remained below 10%.

"We've nowhere near reached the point of herd immunity, looking at 70-90% vaccination, and right now we're talking about a third of the United States having had one vaccine and maybe only 20% having had both vaccinations," said Pamer.

If the mandate is repealed, it will only apply to government-owned spaces.

Private businesses can still require masks.

"We've got to get back to normal at some point," said Port St. Lucie resident Ray Desmangles. "I don't believe masks are the cure. I'm not a huge fan of them. But out of respect for the people around me and the fellow residents, I think it's only right that we respect each other and respect each other's opinions."