JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An executive order put in place by Governor Ron DeSantis banning local governments from requiring masks will not be reconsidered, even as hospitals teeter on the edge of capacity for COVID-19 patients.
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The CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you’re not fully vaccinated, but some places are taking the recommendation a step further.
Los Angeles County announced Thursday it will again require masks to be worn indoors, even by those vaccinated against the coronavirus, while the University of California system also said Thursday that students, faculty, and staff must be inoculated against the disease to return to campuses.
Jacksonville had put a mask mandate in effect in June 2020, but it was lifted in March 2021, and officials are saying there is no going back for Jacksonville nor the state of Florida.
Even local schools are expected to keep masks as optional.
“Our direction is fairly simple. Have a normal school year.” DeSantis said in May to an applauding crowd. “I think that’s where we need to be. I think a lot of schools have gone in that direction now, but .. these kids do not need to be wearing these masks, okay? I’m sorry, they don’t.”
Duval County Public Schools will stick to the district’s back-to-school plan. In a message to families, it said facial coverings remain optional on campuses but are still strongly encouraged for students and staff who have not been vaccinated.
Data from the Florida Department of Health shows COVID-19 cases in Florida rose 7.8% last week. The same data shows 58% of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. New data is expected later Friday.
FYI -- Businesses can still require masks.