Hawthorne mayor weighs in on Alachua County face covering votes

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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- Alachua County commissioners and Gainesville City commissioners put the face mask rule back in place which they say is meant to keep people safe as businesses reopen. It's left many confused since the county commissioners voted the rule 'out' hours earlier.

One mayor says the path to recovery needs to be clear.

Masks are still mandatory in the county as commissioners voted to revert their decision on voting them out.
Since its inception, some have questioned the legality of the rule, and now are left asking, "How can the county change a vote so quickly?"

Alachua County attorney Sylvia Torres said, "This isn't a legal issue this is about your rules. About, the only legal issue is whether this is a sunshine meeting and this is clearly a sunshine meeting. It's been properly advertised as a board of county commissioners meeting."

People found violating the order will be warned first, but fines for continued offenses start at $125 and can reach up to $500.
Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency said, "We have business owners that are confused we have people that re confused. business don't know what their responsibility is as far as how they should enforce it within their stores."

The latest order hereallows 50% occupancy for businesses and churches.

Surrency said, "And it's changed around multiple times. I know its a fluid situation but we need to set out a path. This is how we're going to recover basically its the exact opposite of how we got into it. We came into it with adding restrictions and we need to get out of it buy slowly taking away restrictions and just gently opening the economy to allow everyone to get back to work."

Surrency added that it's been confusing for some to have commissioners vote for the face mask rule to be lifted in the morning, and re-enacted in the evening, but the Hawthorne mayor said that wearing a mask inside of an essential business could contribute to saving a life.