Lakeland City Commission Extends Resolution Requiring Masks Within Corporate Limits
LAKELAND, FL (September 8, 2020) On Tuesday, September 8th the Lakeland City Commission voted to extend the mask resolution that has been in place since early July. The resolution requires masks/face coverings consistent with CDC guidelines for those individuals inside the Lakeland corporate limits. The City Commission voted 4-3 in favor of the resolution with Commissioner Franklin, Commissioner McLeod, and Commissioner Read being the dissenting votes. The resolution requires those not exempt to wear a mask/face covering when social distancing can’t be practiced.
Dr. Joy Jackson, Director of the Florida Department of Health for Polk County started the meeting with an overview of the current status for COVID-19 within Polk County. She indicated that since the mask resolution has been in place, the Lakeland infection rate has leveled off and actually declined but has slightly increased over the past week. She stated the small uptick could possibly be attributed to the fact that Polk County public schools are now back in session.
The meeting was done virtually using the latest in remote meeting technology. Public input was provided through call in and there were over 30 callers who shared their opinion on the issue before the final vote was taken. City Hall also had a number of protesters enter the facility with bull horns sharing their views on masks during the City Commission meeting.
City Attorney Palmer Davis said, “The City Code allows regulations to take place through emergency resolutions and they carry the weight of an ordinance for enforcement.” He also listed some of the exemptions in the resolution for those that wouldn’t be required to wear a mask. These exemptions include children under eight-years-old, if a medical issue prohibits the wearing of a mask, issues regarding ADA compliancy, persons exercising, those individuals who have an occupation that prohibits a mask, and when social distancing is practiced. Davis said, “The resolution will expire at 5 p.m. on October 5th. The resolution will also be enforced with a fine not to exceed $250 for those that don’t comply.”
Mayor Mutz, “Mask wearing is simply caring enough about other people and the economy. Wearing a mask helps businesses remain open while slowing the spread of the virus. We really want our infection rate to drop below five percent and we are getting close.”
The Lakeland City Commission is also going to review policies and views from local banking establishments on possible complications regarding masks/face coverings. The resolution could be amended to allow patrons visiting banks to be exempt from wearing a mask when entering a bank if it is against banking policy. The banking industry has been invited to weigh in on their views.
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 lakelandgov.net/covid19.
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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