Florida health officials urge people to wear masks in public

The Florida Department of Health is advising people to wear masks in public.

On Saturday, the state health department issued an additional public health advisory to COVID-19 to protect Floridians and visitors to the Sunshine State.

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In a news release, it said "the advisory is in addition to steps that the Department has taken to increase mitigation measures, including the purchase of 20 million cloth masks, which are actively being distributed statewide."

The Public Health Advisory provides the following recommendations:

1.) All individuals in Florida should wear masks in any setting where social distancing is not possible unless any of the following apply:

  • A child is under two years of age.
  • An individual has one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering.
  • An individual is obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • An individual works in a profession where the use of a face-covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession.

2.) An individual is engaged in outdoor work or recreation with appropriate social distancing in place. All individuals over the age of 65 and all individuals of any age with high-risk health conditions should limit personal interactions outside of the home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

3.) All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 50 people. For all gatherings of fewer than 50 people, individuals should practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from each other and wearing a face covering.

On Saturday, Governor Ron DeSantis also directed the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to increase inspections to ensure that businesses are adhering to applicable Phase 1 and Phase 2 guidance.

Currently, 64 counties are in Phase 2, which dictates:

1.) Restaurants, bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, excluding nightclubs:

  • May operate at 50 percent of the establishment’s indoor capacity.
  • May operate at full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing.
  • Bar areas may operate with seated service.

2.) Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades:

  • May operate at 50 percent of the establishment’s capacity with appropriate social distancing between groups and proper sanitization protocols.

3.) In-store retail businesses:

  • May operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing measures and proper sanitization protocols.

4.) Gyms and fitness centers:

  • May operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.

5.) Personal services including but not limited to tattooing, body piercing, tanning, and massage:

  • May operate while adhering to appropriate safety guidelines outlined by the Florida Department of Health.

6.) Barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons:

  • May continue to operate while adhering to safety protocols.

Phase 2 continued emphasis on preventative measures outlined by the CDC and OSHA:

  • Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Individuals should avoid gathering in groups larger than 50.
  • All persons who work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis.


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