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Here’s what you need to know about St. Pete’s employee mask ordinance

Megan Holmes

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As of Friday, June 19, employees of St. Petersburg businesses were required to wear masks by an executive order of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

The order requires all businesses located in St. Petersburg to ensure that employees wear face masks or coverings while in spaces that are open to the public.

The order requires that the nose and mouth be covered by the mask, and applies to bars, restaurants, gyms, retail, barbershops, nail salons and personal service businesses, among others.

It comes as COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in the Tampa Bay area. The daily average new cases for Pinellas County is now nearing 160, with a 10 percent weekly positive test rate.

The order includes a number of exceptions for employees, including the possibility that wearing a mask may be incompatible with the performance of a specific job, in which case it can be removed while performing that job. It does not apply while an employee is eating or drinking, while exercising or using exercise equipment, or if the employee is communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired.

The order also exempts those with a health condition that could be worsened by wearing a mask and those who cannot remove the mask without assistance from others.

Kriseman explained that the order would likely soon be followed by a wider order, currently being drafted by the City’s legal department, requiring masks for patrons of businesses as well.

A similar ordinance was issued by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and went into effect at the same time as St. Petersburg’s employee order. The Tampa order requires all persons living, working, visiting or doing business in the City of Tampa to wear a mask in any indoor space, except for their own home or residence when social distancing of six feet is not possible.

Castor’s order specifically exempts those who are social distancing by at least six feet, as well as those under two years of age, those with health concerns that would prohibit mask use, and those who do not interact with the public in their work.

Similar to the order in St. Petersburg, Tampa’s order exempts exercise, eating and drinking, as well situations in which one may need to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired.

Details for the wider masks ordinance in St. Petersburg are expected to be released later this week, and the Pinellas County Commission is scheduled to discuss the topic Tuesday.

Read St. Pete’s full order here.

Read Tampa’s full order here. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Jolene Hilliard

    June 23, 2020at11:26 am

    I am very relieved and do appreciate mayor Kriseman for mandating employees of business to wear masks..I am also very appreciative of patrons being required. I do want to know if there is a site where the public can communicate regarding establishments that do not enforce.

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