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Martin County mask order no longer in effect for general public

Facial coverings must still be worn by business employees
Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 23:59:49-04

STUART, Fla. — The mask ordinance requiring all Martin County residents to wear face coverings where social distancing is not possible has expired.

Passed unanimously on July 7, the order was only valid for 30 days.

County officials decided not to renew the order.

In downtown Stuart, several people could be seen not wearing face coverings Saturday afternoon now that the order has expired.

However, other people were seen wearing masks, they said, out of an abundance of caution.

People wearing masks in downtown Stuart after requirement expired
Several people could be seen wearing masks in downtown Stuart after Martin County's ordinance requiring them for the general public expired.

"The facts are the facts," Martin County resident Alison Schoppe said. "I mean, you just have to see. If the curve was going down and the numbers were reflecting something different, I'd be all for it. But I think it's important to respect the trend and, right now, the trend is going up."

Schoppe has lived in Martin County for more than 30 years.

"I love this town," she said. "Of course I want to have my mask off and be in and out of restaurants. I desperately do, but we're not there yet."

As of Aug. 7, Martin County has reported 3,802 coronavirus cases and 92 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.

"If you feel as though you'd like to have a mask on because you're afraid of spreading it or catching it, then by all means, wear a mask wherever you are," Ross Taylor, who visits Martin County often, said.

Taylor said he is not against masks and does wear them when he feels they are necessary.

"If I'm at a restaurant, I'm seated," Taylor said. "I know people are not going to be around me. Usually the wait staff has their masks. I'm not worried about that and customers, if they're walking past, I'm not concerned."

Facial coverings are still required for employees working inside grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores and gyms.

That specific order will not expire unless the state of emergency ends or Martin County officials decide that it is not longer needed.