Collier County Board of County Commissioners let its original mask mandate expire and approved a new countywide mask mandate in a 3-2 vote Thursday. This mandate will be effective until the end of season — April 13, 2021.
The mask mandate will persist for businesses in the county. The public must report violators of the mask mandate to code enforcement. There are no criminal charges involved for violations.
Although business must follow the mask mandate, there is an exception for businesses that can allow visitors to social distance.
Commissioners discussed the issue and listened to public commenters, who voiced their opinion and concerns on the mandate. Both in-person commenters and virtual speakers joined in on the conversation.
“The numbers are still going up again, so I would say, yeah, it doesn’t matter what the date is,” Joe Early.
Many say it’s a good thing to wait until the end of season. They would feel in danger without the mask.
“I’m gonna wear a mask to help people if that’s what I feel it takes,” Early said.
But others think season is the worst time to have a mask mandate.
“Especially with season coming, people are going to go to Lee County or Marco, where they don’t have a mandate,” Daija Hinojosa said. “And I think we need to bring business to Collier.”
“It’s our freedom not to wear a mask,” Selah Cook.
If at any time the CDC or the governor’s office advise masks are unnecessary, commissioners will bring the mandate back for discussion before April.
Commissioner Burt Saunders says this was the best thing for the county.
“If we don’t extend this order and we have a spike in cases, then, we made a mistake,” Saunders said.