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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 30, 202005:20 AM EST

City releases details for Curry’s face mask order

Private businesses will be required to ensure employees and customers are wearing facial coverings.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

Jacksonville city officials released Mayor Lenny Curry’s official emergency executive proclamation that orders Duval County residents to wear face masks in public places.

Curry administration officials announced the face mask mandate for Duval County during a 12:05 p.m. news conference June 29 in response to rising COVID-19 cases locally and throughout Florida. 

The order took effect at 5 p.m. June 29 for Jacksonville, the city of Baldwin and Duval County’s three beaches communities.

Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton said by email that guidelines and details of the order were written after the initial announcement. They were released at 7:49 p.m.

The order requires anyone over the age of 6 to wear a face mask or covering in a public place, if they are unable to socially distance by at least 6 feet. A public place includes private businesses. 

In a tweet sent after the order was released, city officials clarified that face masks will only be required indoors. 

Business owners and operators are required to ensure every employee and customer wears a mask at all times, according to the executive order. 

Curry’s proclamation makes exceptions for situations where a face mask would interfere with a customer’s ability to receive goods or services, like eating at a restaurant or receiving dental treatment or some services at barber shops and salons.

Business owners are required to make accommodations, such as curbside service or delivery, for people with disabilities who cannot wear face masks.

Duval County business operators can prohibit people from entering their establishments if the customers are unable or unwilling to wear a mask “as they pose a direct threat to the health and safety of employees and other customers, even if asymptomatic,” the order states. 

Duval County public safety, fire and law enforcement personnel are exempt from the order but will have to adhere to personal protective equipment requirements put in place by their agencies.

Curry’s proclamation cites federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that recommend wearing cloth face masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Curry’s local face mask mandate is allowed under a March 1 executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis declaring a public health emergency in Florida. 

The mayor did not attend the afternoon news conference where his face mask order was announced. A city spokesperson said Curry’s absence was because of a prior family commitment.

 As of 9:07 p.m. June 29, Curry had not issued a personal public statement about his decision beyond the official order.

Curry’s Chief of Staff Jordan Elsbury said June 29 the decision came after a morning meeting with Duval County area hospital officials. 

The U.S. Navy’s decision to require face masks on bases, including Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport, also was a factor in the city’s policy decision, Elsbury said. 

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