HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- If you’re inside most businesses in Hillsborough County, then starting Wednesday you’ll likely be required to wear facial covering.

What You Need To Know

That was the decision Monday – by a 5-3 vote - after a lengthy discussion by the Emergency Policy Group.

In addition, business owners have to require those facial coverings. They’ll also have to enforce the rules and deny a person from coming in if that person is not wearing a mask.

Any violator could be cited.

The order does provide exceptions for:

  • Children under the age of 2
  • Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing
    health condition
  • Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with
    other persons
  • Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing
    from another person
  • Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering
    would prevent them from performing the duties of the business or profession
  • Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing
  • Persons eating or drinking
  • Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their
    personal protective equipment requirements will be governed by their
    respective agencies
  • The requirement shall not apply when a person who is hearing-impaired needs
    to see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering in order to communicate
  • The requirement shall not be applied in a manner that would conflict with the
    Americans with Disabilities Act

In addition, the order does not apply to religious services, nonprofit organizations, private clubs, and government agencies.

Sheriff Chad Chronister disagreed with the order and voted against it.

Monday’s order comes after Bay area medical professionals stressed the importance of wearing facial coverings.

They shared images of people who recently died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

A study from Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida showed that of those who have tested positive for the virus, about 87 percent did not wear masks.

The order would be renewed every seven days.

A similar order will soon go into effect across the Bay in St. Peterburg. Mayor Rick Kriseman signed an executive order late Monday mandating that residents wear face coverings in all public spaces and spaces where people are face-to-face. The order goes into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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