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Hillsborough recommends, won’t mandate, face masks

April 16, 2020 - The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group said it will recommend, but not require, face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor had proposed requiring Hillsborough residents to wear masks when conducting essential business, but the idea never came to a vote Thursday afternoon, after six of the eight members on the emergency policy group said they could not support a mandate for face coverings. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman offered an alternative, recommending essential service employers ensure their workers are wearing face coverings if they cannot maintain a six-foot distance from the public and from their co-workers. That motion failed 2 to 6, with only Overman and Castor voting for it. Commissioner Les Miller, who chairs the emergency policy group, asked the county's communications teams to resend earlier communications, strongly urging wearing a face covering in public.

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