PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — St. Lucie County commissioners voted Tuesday night to repeal the mask mandate.
Commissioners approved the measure by a 4-1 vote.
"I believe that this is not a mask," resident Michael Smith said. "This is a muzzle. This suppresses our speech, our freedom of expression, specifically our facial expressions."
The mandate had been in place since July.
For the last six weeks, St. Lucie County's COVID-19 positivity rate has remained below 10%.
The decision will only apply to government-owned spaces. Private businesses can still require masks.
"We should be wearing the masks to help those that need us to make them safe," resident Diane Goldberg said. "It's not just about us. It's helping others."
St. Lucie Public Schools released the following statement in response to the decision:
SLPS will maintain the current health and safety protocols, including the use of face masks, that we have had in place since the start of the school year. It is evident that those health and safety protocols have helped to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and have contributed greatly to maintaining healthy learning and work environments for both students and staff.