Florida county begins issuing $100 fines for not wearing masks

Masks encouraged, recommended, and mandated, but never enforced with fine in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Could a mask mandate and fine for not wearing them be on the way to Duval County?

Since Jacksonville’s executive order to mandate masks in public and indoors where you can’t social distance, the number of cases have gone up.

Some city leaders across Florida said if the public doesn’t comply with the safety mandates, stay-at-home orders could come back.

In Miami-Dade County, an emergency order from Thursday allows a $100 fine for people not wearing masks in public and $500 fine for businesses.

“So you think that should be happening here in Jacksonville?” News4Jax reporter Marilyn Parker asked.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” George Brier said.

“I think they should be worn in the appropriate places, but I don’t feel like you should be forcing people to wear a mask everywhere,” Derrick Turner said. “You’re basically telling people to be sheep.”

Miami-Dade County has far more positive cases than Duval County, but enforcement could still be a possibility.

Mayor Lenny Curry has said in the past that the city won’t start ticketing people for not wearing masks.

“What would you think if that happened here?” Parker asked.

“I would be OK with it,” Artem Moiseyenkov said. “I don’t think that’s a bad idea.”

“With this mask you can lower the probability of catching the virus. So if they fine, I don’t know how that’s going to work, but I think it something that will be helpful,” Darien Rottmann said.

For those who don’t have the money to pay the fine, the Miami-Dade Police Department has come up with a diversion program for people to do community service hours.

“People tend to not to do the right thing unless they have some sort of incentive for them to do the right thing,” Moiseyenkov said. “So the $100 would probably be a good incentive.”

“I don’t know about the fine. I think it would just be common sense for people to wear it, considering the virus and the severity of it,” another person said.

In the last week, major retailers have started to require masks inside its stores.

Retail experts said though it’s difficult to enforce the rules, the rise in cases doesn’t give them a choice.

“When you force people and give people fines, I think you’re creating a law for people to break,” Turner said.

The Florida Department of Health reported on Saturday more than 337,500 cases. Though the cases are far higher in South Florida, the cases are rising in Duval County.

While there are mixed reviews on enforcing the mask mandate, most people News4Jax spoke with said they hope the spread dies down soon.

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