JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – During a Monday evening meeting of the Jacksonville Beach City Council, leaders discussed whether to mandate having people wear face masks in public, which health experts have said help thwart the spread of the virus.
The discussion comes as some businesses and bars at the beaches closed their doors to clean. Some chose to do it as a precaution, while others in the area reported employees and patrons testing positive for COVID-19.
Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said it’s been to lead by example and strongly encourage everyone to wear face masks. Other Council members seemed to agree when the mayor who said it’s not a good move to make wearing face masks mandatory.
“Mandatory face masks, at this point, seem rash especially with the lawsuits that are going on,” Latham said.
He was referring to lawsuits, particularly in Central and South Florida, where people are suing several counties for forcing the public to wear masks -- calling government mandates over what a person wears a violation of privacy.
“I’m constantly out talking to people in meetings and at Publix, but I’m always wearing my freaking mask,” Latham said. “We just have to lead by example and let people know that we are begging them at this point, please take personal responsibility.”
The mayor said the city should use social media to encourage everyone at the beach to wear face masks, so the message especially reaches people in their 20s and 30s. State numbers show more younger people are contracting new cases of the virus.