ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mask mandates went into effect on both sides of Tampa Bay at 5 p.m. Friday. While the orders are similar in intent, just who they apply to is a little different between Tampa and St. Petersburg.

What You Need To Know

For now, the mask order in St. Petersburg only applies to businesses and their employees, not to customers patronizing those businesses. The order in Tampa applies to everyone in public spaces.

The Mill Restaurant has locations in both cities. Chef Ted Dorsey at The Mill's St. Petersburg location said they didn't wait for Mayor Rick Kriseman's new mask rule to get their employees wearing masks.

In fact, they've been wearing them since the restaurant reopened in mid-May.

"We came out of the gate," Dorsey said. "We wanted to do the things the right way and be proactive in our approach, so we required our staff and management team to always wear masks and gloves while in the building."

In Tampa, The Mill is even going a step further. They're using a facial scanner to take their customers' temperatures.

"The customers are required to wear masks," Dorsey explained. "We're going to implement our facial recognition software. We're going to implement that now out front with the customers, as well." 

Kriseman said Thursday he's asked the City Attorney to draft an ordinance similar to Tampa's that would require everyone in public spaces to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Also, Pinellas County commissioners will discuss a county-wide mask rule.

People in Tampa who flout the mask mandate  could face a civil fine up to $500.

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