Ocala Mayor vetoes emergency mask ordinance

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 11:23 AM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - UPDATE 2:15 p.m.


Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn has vetoed the City Council’s emergency mask ordinance. Guinn announced his decision on the radio during the Bob Rose Show.

The Ocala City Council had approved an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks when they entered a business within the city last Tuesday night.

The emergency ordinance was introduced by Councilman Matt Wardell, and supported by all of the council members except Council President Jay Musleh.

“My stand point is to get this under control so that people can get some what of a normal life. Ultimately that’s the goal, keeping people safe and keeping things rolling without having to shut down,” Wardell told TV20′s Julia Laude on Aug. 5.

The ordinance was set to go into effect on Aug. 14 prior to Mayor Guinn’s veto. The Ocala Mayor had hinted at a possible veto during his interview with WCJB on Friday.

“Most want me to veto it. Probably 99 plus percent,” Guinn said then.

There are still some unknowns moving forward. The Ocala City Council could decide in the next meeting to override Mayor Guinn’s veto. While Guinn, in the same radio show this morning, says city attorneys have advised him that in an emergency situation his veto power could be taken away.

Guinn replied, “game on.”

The ordinance states that businesses would have to posts signage about the face covering requirement, make announcements over the business’s p-a system, and make “a reasonable effort” to ensure patrons and employees wear a mask.

There are exceptions to the face covering rule, however. Children under the age of seven, persons who have trouble breathing due to chronic pre-existing conditions, those who cannot “tolerate a facial covering for a medical sensory or any other condition which makes it difficult for them to utilize a face covering and function in public,” those exercising while six feet away from another individual, and restaurant and bar patrons that are eating and drinking, are some of the exemptions to the face covering rules.

There are some penalties if businesses don’t follow these rules.

According to the ordinance, a first time offender will receive a verbal warning, which includes “education about the dangers of non-compliance,” a second offense will include a written warning, while a third, and all subsequent offenses, will include a $25 fine.

Some business owners had show some support over the mask ordinance.

Shannon Roth Collection and Olivia & Co., associate Robin Fannon said they’re glad the city is putting this into effect.

“Well we’re all for it. We are very interested in keeping the community safe and protecting everyone and the more we all cooperate and do it the faster we can get through this,” Fannon said.

Stay with WCJB as we follow this developing story.

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