City of Lakeland allows mask mandate to expire

Lakeland is the latest local government in Tampa Bay to allow their mask mandate to end.

A mandatory-mask mandate has been in place since July, which required face coverings to be worn while indoors. However, as of Monday night that all changed. Those within the city of Lakeland will now have the choice whether they want to wear a mask without the fear of any repercussions after commissioners voted to do away with that mask order for the first time in three months. 

Lakeland commissioners decided instead of renewing it and extending the requirement, they would let it expire at 5 p.m. Monday. They had already extended the order twice since it went into effect in July.

PREVIOUS: Lakeland commissioners narrowly vote to extend mask mandate

However, during Monday's meeting, Mayor Bill Mutz said extending the mandate wouldn’t make sense. In his speech to city commissioners, the mayor cited Governor Ron DeSantis’s announcement banning local governments from penalizing individuals for not wearing masks

Since July 2, those in the city who didn't comply could have faced a $250 fine. 

Mutz said it seemed pointless to have a mask mandate in place, but not be able to enforce it. By the end of the meeting, commissioners did decide to let that mandate expire.

READ: Florida face-covering rules: List of mandatory coronavirus mask orders in the Tampa Bay area

The city of Lakeland is now the second local government in the Tampa Bay area to end their mask order. Manatee County repealed their mandate last week.