Face mask mandate now in effect for Orange County

Orange County’s mask mandate went into effect on Saturday.

Orange County leaders said a spike in local COVID-19 cases and visits to emergency rooms was what prompted them to issue the mandate throughout the county. 

Orange County residents Walter Gamboa and Amy Acksonevong said mask-wearing was a good idea.

“I think relatively everyone should be considerate of the ones around them by protecting themselves and others. A mask is just fabric, it's not really an inconvenience to those wearing it,” Gamboa said.

Acksonevong said the spike in central Florida COVID-19 cases was alarming.

“I definitely agree that it's a good plan for right now to try to decrease and make sure no one else is spreading it.”

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Under the order, the county was also urging businesses to observe CDC guidelines on social distancing and mandating their employees and customers to wear masks. They've also recommended businesses deny service to anyone not wearing a mask.

“We’re requiring you come in with a mask and wear your mask while you’re in the public area. Once you sit down to eat or drink, you can take your mask off,” said Jason Lambert, owner of The Hammered Lamb.

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Local businesses said they were happy the county was backing-up their efforts to keep everyone safe. “We can now have something to stand behind. When people come in without a mask on, we can now say it’s required by the county,” Lambert said.

There are some exemptions. First responders, utility workers, and some healthcare workers are exempt from wearing masks while on the job.