JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s mask mandate due to expire Tuesday has been extended through Thanksgiving, according to city officials.
The mandate, which requires a mask or other face-covering to be worn indoors for people older than age 6 when they cannot socially distance, has been in place since late June. It must be renewed every 30 days by Mayor Lenny Curry or it will expire.
The mayor’s office said Curry met with hospital executives before announcing the decision around 3:30 p.m. that his executive order was extended through Nov. 26.
From a medical perspective, there is no question that masks help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Public health leaders continue to urge people to wear masks when they cannot socially distance from others, especially indoors.
Most people News4Jax spoke with Tuesday think it was the right call.
“I think it should be extended and enforced because it stops the spread of COVID,” one viewer said. “It’s a fact.”
“This is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against COVID-19," said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But people like Bob Andorf said they don’t believe wearing a mask should be required.
“I don’t want to say it’s because I look foolish because that’s not a reason," Andorf said. "Like I said, I stay away from people.”
Upon overhearing that exchange in a parking lot, Andrew Scott joined the conversation.
“I know when I come to the store and see you, I’m not going to act like I’m scared of you. I’m just going to back away ... and give you my 6 feet," Scott told him.
Jacksonville Dr. Sunil Joshi said that with flu season here, this would have been the worst time to end the mask mandate. He said for those with “mask fatigue” -- wearing a mask could help ensure good hospital treatment for other emergencies.
St. Augustine and Nassau County, which also had mask mandates, rescinded them after Gov. Ron DeSantis moved the state into Phase 3 reopening last month.
The Duval County School Board told News4Jax Tuesday morning that regardless of the city’s decision, there will be no change to the district’s facial coverings policy: facial coverings are still required.