Officials in Central Florida county require residents to wear face covering when out in public

Penalties could include large fine or jail time

Mask mandates in place in Miami and other South Florida cities
Mask mandates in place in Miami and other South Florida cities

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Leaders in Osceola County held a news conference Friday to provide updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the news conference, a new emergency order was announced stating that those in Osceola County will be required to wear a face mask when in public.

“It’s not meant to be a punishment, we’re doing this to stop the spread of this virus,” Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said.

The new requirement goes into effect April 13 at 12:01 a.m. and will continue until officials deem face coverings are no longer needed.

“Wearing a face cloth will help someone who doesn’t know they have it (COVID-19) from spreading the virus,” officials said.

Officials urge the public to not buy N95 masks or PPE but instead use a scarf or bandana in place of a medical mask.

If someone is found not following the guideline, they can face up to a $500 fine or 60 days in jail, Gibson said.

The following exceptions are allowed for not wearing a mask:

  • Anyone under the age of 2
  • A person who has an existing health condition and a face covering would cause impairment to them
  • Person working in a profession where the use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession
  • Person working in a profession and do not have any face-tace- interactions with the public
  • Anyone exercising while observing social distancing

Osceola County still has a curfew in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew is in effect until further notice.

As of Friday morning, Osceola County had 300 positive cases of the coronavirus.

“The way that you can help the very most is to stay home,” Gibson added.

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