Some in Jacksonville will still wear masks despite city dropping mandate

Businesses can decide whether to require customers, employees to wear face coverings

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry did away with the city's mask mandate, but said businesses can still require customers to wear masks. News4JAX reporter Zac Lashway takes us on a tour of Downtown Jacksonville to see how and businesses feel about the mask mandate being lifted.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry ended Duval County’s mask mandate and, in doing so, said businesses can still require customers to wear masks.

Some storefronts throughout San Marco and Riverside are making it very clear that masks are still required. A sign posted on the door of a Five Points store reads: “Sorry, no shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service. Please mask up before entering.”

“There’s a point in which there will be enough vaccinations to do so,” said a man named Nick who works in the medical field.

He said that although we are not there yet, he hopes we will be soon.

“I’ll probably still personally wear a mask. I think it gives me a little more comfort that I am not spreading it to anyone else,” he said. “I still have gone out to eat and, of course, when you’re eating, people are not wearing masks, so I guess it would be a little hypocritical for me to say I am not going to go somewhere if they are not requiring a mask. I still have gone to restaurants in the meantime.”

Jessica Eaton is a mother. She said she plans to still wear a mask.

“I don’t mind frequenting places that are lifting the mask mandate, but I will continue to still wear a mask because of other people,” Eaton said. “If I am asymptomatic or if my children are, I want to be able to protect people in my family, anybody who has any underlying conditions.”

RELATED: Curry opts to end Jacksonville’s mask mandate

So while the mask mandate is no more, the stores, restaurants and other businesses are now left to decide whether to require customers and employees to wear face coverings.

Winn-Dixie grocery stores plan to continue requiring masks.

The public library is a city building, so you won’t have to wear a mask in there anymore or in City Hall.

But masks are still required for students, teachers and staff at Duval County schools. The district sent parents and students an email Sunday night to avoid any confusion:

BB’s Restaurant in San Marco is still requiring customers to wear masks when they enter the restaurant until they are seated. Employees will also continue to wear masks.

The Shim Sham Room is no longer requiring its employees or customers to wear masks.

Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, with Baptist Health, said that even though cases of COVID-19 are dropping and more people are getting vaccinated, the coronavirus is not gone and masks should not go away.

“It really is coming down to a bit of a race between the vaccine and the variants,” Ransom said. “So I think that we maintain our vigilance and continue to wear a mask.”

The Duval County Medical Society released the following statement: “While we understand that the mask mandate for Duval County has expired, the Duval County Medical Society and its Foundation strongly encourage continued social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing as ways to mitigate the spread of COVID19. We also strongly encourage all individuals to receive a COVID19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible in order to keep yourself and our entire community safe as we get closer to the end of the pandemic.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis never instituted a statewide mask mandate.

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