JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first full day that face coverings are required in Jacksonville there were a few questions -- mostly about age requirements -- but it seems most people are complying.
I’ll admit masks are not comfortable, but the city that has encouraged their use to control the spread of coronavirus now says they are necessary.
But the city’s rule was a little vague at first, stating that masks be work in all public spaces when you can’t socially distance. When Executive Proclamation 2020-005 came out at the end of the day, it addressed some of the confusion, including what age children needed to comply.
“When the order first came out we were under the impression it was age 2 and older, which is extremely difficult,” said Adam Chaskin, CEO of Jewish Community Alliance.
And that is what Jacksonville officials originally said in their midday announcement, but the city adjusted it to 6 and up since that’s the age other cities use in their mask requirements.
There’s a sign in front of the JCA, which offers child care services, saying it follows CDC guidelines. They do require not only masks, but surveys and temperature checks as well.
Chaskin said the children don’t object to the rules.
“They are remarkably adaptable. I think children adapt to change much better than us adults do in most cases,” Chaskin said. “The feedback I’ve been getting from our different age groups, starting with the youngest, is there’s been some reminding but there haven’t been any problems.”
As for those adults, it’s up to business owners to force customers to wear masks. Scott Summey, who owns Open Road Bicycles on Hendricks Avenue, says most people are following the rules.
“We respect people coming in by wearing mask also, so we want to make sure we are all on the same page,” Summey said.
Would he turn away a customer who wouldn’t wear a mask?
“As long as my people are wearing a mask and we’re doing our preventative measures and we can also socially distance, we will take it case-by-case, he said.
Unlike many other cities, there is no previsions for enforcement in Jacksonville’s order. But it does give business owners to say they’re just following the rules, not making a decision themselves that their customers may not agree with.
The city -- and the businesses -- hope most people will comply.
The city’s order includes exceptions in cases where a business service cannot be performed while wearing a mask -- such as a dentist or a barber -- or while a person is eating at a restaurant. First responders are also exempt but subject to the safety requirements of their agency.
Jacksonville City Council has called an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the mask proclamation with Curry. News4Jax will stream that meeting online.