Milton, Gulf Breeze join Pensacola in ordering masks inside businesses
The order to wear masks extended beyond Pensacola and now includes the cities of Milton and Gulf Breeze in Santa Rosa County
Milton Mayor Heather Lindsay ordered an emergency declaration beginning Sunday that requires masks inside all businesses to include staff and customers. The mask must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face, according to the order.
The city of Gulf Breeze issued a declaration Friday night also requiring mask. The city also reverted to some precautions included in Phase 1 of COVID-19 recovery including monitoring parks to ensure social distancing and closing Gulf Breeze Community Center to some inside activities.
Masks are not required in the unincorporated areas of Santa Rosa County or in the town of Jay, county officials said. They also are not required outside of Pensacola in Escambia County.
However, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged all Floridians to follow the advice of the CDC and wear masks while out in public.
In an email to the News Journal, the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County emphasized that it was important to maintain a 6-foot distance between people and to wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible.
"Changes in social behavior related to reopening, reinforce how important it is for individuals to continue to practice disease prevention methods to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in Escambia County," Dr. John Lanza, director of Escambia County health department, said in a written statement to the News Journal. "We cannot get complacent with our behaviors. It is our shared social responsibility to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering in public. These measures will protect the entire community, including our vulnerable populations.”
Exemptions in all areas requiring masks include:
– A child under 6 years of age.
– A person who has one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering, including anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. A person asserting this exception for medical conditions or disabilities is not required to carry or produce documentation verifying the health condition to a business or law enforcement.
– A person who is communicating with an individual who is hearing impaired who needs to see the mouth of the person speaking to facilitate communication.
– An individual who is obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
– Public safety, police, fire, and other life safety and health care personnel whose personal protective equipment requirements are governed by their respective agencies.
– A person in a federal, state, or Escambia County government building.
– A person exercising while observing at least 6 feet of distancing from other persons.
– Persons while eating or drinking. It is the intent of this provision that a face covering be worn while traversing a business for ingress and egress, to use the restroom facilities, and while standing when persons are unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distancing.
– Business owners, managers, and employees who are in an area of a business that is not open to customers, patrons, or the public, provided that 6 feet of distance exists between persons. This exception does not apply to employees who are present in the kitchen or other food and beverage preparation area of a business – those persons must wear face coverings.
– An individual in a lodging establishment who is inside of the lodging unit, including, but not limited to, a hotel room, motel room, vacation rental unit, timeshare unit, or similar unit.
– Does not apply to churches or places of worship.