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State Senator Keith Perry responds to mandated mask order in Alachua County

Violators of the mask mandate face fines starting at $150
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -

Mask mandates are sweeping across the country as positive COVID-19 cases spike. Despite nearly 9,000 confirmed cases in Florida in the last 24 hours, there’s no state mandate but bars are now banned from serving alcohol.

The face mask mandate in Alachua County still stands and will cost repeat violators.

Around a thousand comments on our Facebook page show mixed reactions to the potential consequences people in Alachua County face by not wearing a mask in a business. District 8 congressman Keith Perry says the mask mandate is a step in the wrong direction..

"Anyone who had a fine that could not afford it, I offered to pay for it."

Because the focus should be helping one another, said Perry."Education, helping people provide masks if they needs masks and let people make their own choices. And there's good things to do. Washing your hands and not touching your face is the best practice you can have. Are we gonna mandate people wash their hands, are we gonna mandate people don't touch your face? I mean there's a role for government and a proper role for government but there's also an impractical role for government."

Officials with the county encourage people to call code enforcement if they’re in a business and see employees or patrons without a mask on. From there, code enforcement officers will issue a warning and be stocked with disposable masks for people who don’t have one.

Mark Sexton, Alachua county spokesman said, "We would rather this just be a public education campaign and everyone just does the right thing but that's not happening. So we are gonna get very proactive with enforcement."

With fines starting at $125 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 and a court appearance for the third. Following the public health advisory from the Florida Department of Health, Sexton says people can protect from a rise in cases. “And do what is needed to protect lives and to protect business.”

Sexton said by wearing a mask. "There are times in a country's history where citizens are asked to make a sacrifice. Sometimes it's going to war, sometimes it's natural disasters. But right now the sacrifice that we're asking people to make is to loop a mask over your ears for a few minutes while you're in a business."

Sexton adds that the mask mandate is necessary to keep businesses open but if cases continue to rise, county commissioners could order further restrictions.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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