TAMPA, Fla. — Starting Friday at 5 p.m., residents in the City of Tampa will be required to wear masks or facial coverings while in public spaces, per a citywide order issued by Mayor Jane Castor Thursday evening.

The Mayor's decision follows a meeting of Hillsborough County's Emergency Policy Group, where it was decided that a county-wide mask requirement would be discussed next week.

Castor decided to put the order in place ahead of next week's EPG discussion.

"We are going to pass this facial covering order that’s going to go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.," Castor said. "If individuals were to wear face coverings for two weeks, we would cut the spread of COVID-19 by 80 percent or more."

Notably, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister voted against proceeding with any county-wide mask mandate, saying it would be difficult to enforce. 

Castor's order comes one day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said a mask mandate would go into effect in St. Petersburg Friday for businesses and their employees. Kriseman said a mask mandate for residents in public places was in the works.