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Commissioners expected to decide future of mask mandate in Collier County

Collier County Board of County Commissioners is expected to make a decision on whether the countywide mask mandate will be extended Thursday. There’s a lot on the line for people and businesses.

We visited Seed to Table Market in Collier County Wednesday, where it remains a business strictly against the mandate in Collier County. Still, some who shop there want the rule extended.

“I don’t really think anyone has the right amount of data or analysis of whether it works or not,” Jon Evert said. “I’m not crazy about it, but I don’t have a problem with it if it makes everyone else comfortable.”

Commissioners will discuss the mask issue again amid the pandemic. This time it will be focused on whether it should be continued.

“It’s a safety precaution that doesn’t really hurt anyone,” Marsha Clayton said.

But signs requiring face coverings are killing business for some such as Saw Grass Grill.

“We’re just a little red neck diner out in Golden Gate,” owner Peggy Robinson-Long said.

Robinson-Long says they have to abide to different rules.

“I’m diabetic, so it’s my best interest to wear a mask,” Robinson-Long said. “But these kids coming in and the locals, they’re not in that age group. So if I force them to wear a mask, they’re going to go somewhere else.”

The restaurant has a photobook here. Robinson-Long been in business for 18 years and says the pandemic has been their toughest chapter yet.

”If we can make it six months more, it’d be a miracle,” she said.

Co-owner Sherry Robinson-Long feels, after the governor banned localities from collecting fines, it’s up to people to make decisions.

“It’s somebody’s own choice,” Sherry said. “But if it helps get us out of this until the vaccine comes available, then, why the heck not wear it?”

Commissioners meet at 3 p.m. to decide what happens next with the mandate.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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