City Commission Will Revisit City-Wide Mask/Face Covering Requirement
LAKELAND, FL (June 30, 2020) | On Thursday, July 2nd at 10 a.m., the Lakeland City Commission will reconsider a resolution that would require the use of masks/face coverings within the Lakeland corporate limits. An Agenda Study Session is scheduled to take place at 8:30 a.m. and at the end of the session, the Commission will discuss the mask/face covering issue as a specially called meeting just for that topic. City Manager Tony Delgado said, “In accordance to the City Charter, the City Manager’s Office has received a request from three of our seven elected officials to hold a specially called meeting on the mask topic in light of the current COVID-19 infection trends.”
The Lakeland City Commission discussed the issue earlier at a specially called City Commission Meeting on Monday, June 22nd , but the mandate never went to a vote. At that meeting, Doctor Steven Achinger, Managing Partner at Watson Clinic, and Danielle Drummond, President & CEO-elect for Lakeland Regional Health both shared their concerns on the issue. Achinger relayed scientific analysis on why face coverings should be mandatory and Drummond shared concerns over growing hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. Mayor Bill Mutz said, “I am disappointed that we didn’t even get enough interest to get a vote on the topic.” Florida’s positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase. According to the Florida Department of Health, the state’s positive coronavirus cases increased by 277% in the past 14-days. Local cases have also increased sharply during this time period.
June 30th Coronavirus Statistics:
- Lakeland Cases: 1,251
Increase of 54 since 6/29
- Polk County Cases: 3,836
Increase of 154 since 6/29
- Polk County Deaths: 98
Increase of 5 since 6/29
- Florida Total Cases: 152,434
Increase of 6093 since 6/29
- Florida Total Deaths: 3,505
Increase of 58 since 6/29
The City of Lakeland encourages the public to follow the CDC recommendations for social distancing and hygiene. The City of Lakeland has developed a dedicated webpage with a number of resources to help the community stay informed. You can find this site by visiting www.lakelandgov.net/covid19. The Agenda Study Session and the Specially Called City Commission Meeting will take place virtually using the latest remote meeting technology. The meetings can be viewed on www.lakelandgov.net/TV, www.youtube.com/lakelandgov, Spectrum 643, and FiOS 43.
There is no audience participation during the agenda study session. However, a call-in number and access code will be available at the beginning of the Specially Called Meeting for those that want to provide input on masks/face coverings.
The nation is still grappling with the impact of a pandemic and Florida recently has experienced a spike in positive COVID-19 cases with a steady rise since Memorial Day. The CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., big-box stores, grocery stores, and pharmacies). Health care professionals around the nation continue to encourage the use of a face-covering/mask when indoors and in cases when social distancing protocols can’t be properly practiced.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population of over 100,000, Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third-largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore LakelandGov.net.
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