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Orange County Residents, Get Those Face Masks Ready: Mandate Takes Effect Saturday at Midnight

Photo: Vera Davidova
Photo: Vera Davidova

Every person working, visiting or doing business in Orange County will have to wear a face covering in any public space starting Saturday at midnight.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says requiring face masks is in the best interests of all businesses. 

He says he does not want to experience another shutdown, and doing nothing is not a good option as cases continue to climb. 

Demings says he realizes Gov. Ron DeSantis is committed to reopening Florida, but in order to do that the county needs to reduce its new cases. 

"If the trend continues where we continue to see increased triple digit numbers if you will on a day-to-day basis. If we see where we have a significant increase in the numbers of people in our hospitals. Those two things will trigger something else."

[audio wav="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/demings-clip-two.wav"][/audio]

Demings says most of the recent positive test results are in people between the ages of 20 and 39-with the average age around 29 years old.

He said for now, hospitals have not reached their capacity, but they have seen an increase in patients.

"We're going to have to put an increased emphasis on making certain that that demographic begins to wear a mask in greater numbers, etc."

[audio wav="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/demings-clip-one.wav"][/audio]

Demings says the county will pass out PPE kits to small businesses next week to make sure their employees have face masks. In order to qualify, businesses must have 40 or fewer workers. 

If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.