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Martin County leaders debating mask mandate

Public comments on both sides of the issue lasted nearly 8-hours
Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 18:37:33-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Martin County commissioners met Thursday to consider requiring face masks for anyone inside businesses or in public places where social distancing is not possible.

Public comments on both sides of the issue lasted nearly 8-hours.

The arguments from Martin County residents and business owners ran the gamut from some claiming a mandate to wear face masks was unconstitutional or overstepping by the government.

Others felt a face mask requirement might be what it takes to get the spread of COVID-19 under control.

RELATED: Do face masks really stop the coronavirus? Palm Beach County health experts weigh in
Toni Rummo is a local business owner and asked commissioners not to require face masks beyond the requirements already in place. Martin County commissioners earlier this month voted to require face masks for employees of restaurants, food service establishments, and retail stores where employees come into close contact with their clients.

“There should be mounting frustration. They keep taking all of our rights away. This week it’s good. This week it’s not. Next week it’s going to be different,” Rummo said. “What they’re doing on Independence Day weekend, come on. How independent does everybody feel? It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Dr. Tiffany Weakley told commissioners that wearing masks will save lives.

“If we don’t have a mask mandate we have to be okay with letting some of those people die, and that’s on our collective hands as a group of people,” Dr. Weakley said.

Business owners would not be expected to enforce the order inside their establishment.

The order would also include the following exceptions, according to the county attorney:

-Children under 6-years-old

-Children in daycare settings or schools.

-People actively exercising who are social distancing.

-People receiving goods and services for the shortest practical period of time during the receipt of the goods, such as eating, drinking, facial grooming, or facial treatments.

-People who have a medical condition or disability in which a facial covering is unsafe.

-People communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or relies on lip reading for communication.

-People working outside with appropriate social distancing.