What does Phase 3 mean for wearing masks in public in Florida?

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the state would be moving into full Phase 3 of reopening after months of trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. So what does that mean for wearing masks in public?

Speaking from St. Petersburg, DeSantis said that all outstanding fines and penalties against people for failing to follow local mask rules are suspended.

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"I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing and just work with people constructively," the governor said.

Although DeSantis never implemented a statewide mask mandate, many local governments have put into place their own restrictions. 

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield has reaffirmed the effectiveness of face masks against spread of the novel coronavirus, saying that wearing a facial covering may be more effective than an eventual vaccine. 

"And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I’ve said that if we did it for six, eight, 10, 12 weeks we'd bring this pandemic under control."

A man wearing an American flag mask is seen near Chelsea Piers as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

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Redfield went on to explain why masks are currently the best line of defense against COVID-19 and why they might be more effective than a potential coronavirus vaccine. 

“These actually, we have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense," he continued. "I might even go so far as to say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine, because the immunogenicity might be 70%, and if I don't get an immune response the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will."

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest on Florida's reopening.