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Sarasota leaders to consider a mandatory mask ordinance in the city

Officials across Tampa Bay, including in Pinellas County and Tampa, have passed their own face-covering rules to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Two women wearing safety masks stretch as they walk on Siesta Beach Monday, April 27, 2020, in Siesta Key, Fla.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Correction: A previous story said Sarasota County leaders were considering an ordinance. However, it is city leaders who are discussing the face mask order, not county leaders.

Leaders in Sarasota on Monday will consider whether a mandatory face-covering ordinance is necessary for their residents.

The ordinance, according to the agenda item, largely is modeled after Tampa's order, which dictates the wearing of a mask to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in any public indoor location when not maintaining social distancing. 

RELATED: What do Tampa and St. Pete's new face mask rules mean?

However, there are exceptions to Sarasota's ordinance, including the addition of a requirement of people wearing a mask outdoors on public property when social distancing is not possible.

Commissioners will also consider whether children older than 2 years old should wear a mask and if certain schools should be exempt to allow those leaders flexibility in creating their own rules.

If approved, Sarasota's order would go into effect Wednesday, July 1.

"This is an effort to have a productive and informative discussion and decision, and not a contentious, divisive conversation," Jen Ahearn-Koch said in a statement. "As with Tampa's Mask Order, there will be a number of exceptions including ADA, infants, dining and more. 

"The City Attorney will make enforcement and penalty recommendations, but certainly nothing draconian."

There were 61 new cases of COVID-19 in Sarasota County reported Saturday, June 27, according to the Florida Department of Health. There were 98 and 103 new cases on Friday and Thursday, respectively.

Countywide, the number of new cases largely stayed within the single digits to about 20 through mid-June before climbing.

RELATED: Amid climbing COVID-19 cases, Gov. DeSantis keeps same message: Wash your hands, social distance

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