Lakeland City Commission Passes Resolution Requiring Masks Within Corporate Limits
LAKELAND, FL (July 2, 2020) | On Thursday, July 2, 2020, the Lakeland City Commission held a Specially Called City Commission Meeting to discuss a resolution that would require masks/face coverings consistent with CDC guidelines for those individuals inside the Lakeland corporate limits. The City Commission voted 5-2 in favor of the resolution with Commissioner Franklin and Commissioner Read being the dissenting votes.
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 stated that the median age for those testing positive with the coronavirus in Polk County is 40 with the younger population starting to impact the health system. She said, “The greatest number of cases now testing positive is a younger set between the age of 25-44.” She also shared that there are 92 individuals with COVID-19 currently at Lakeland Regional Health.
The meeting was done virtually using the latest in remote meeting technology. Public input was provided through call in and there were 57 callers who shared their opinion on the issue before the final vote was taken.
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 go into effect today at 5 p.m. and will expire at 5 p.m. on August 3rd. The resolution will also be enforced with a fine not to exceed $250 for those that don’t comply.”
Mayor Mutz said, “The goal is to educate and we don’t want to get to a fine stage on this issue. Only those that are being obstinate and create an issue will be given a fine. Mask wearing is simply caring enough about other people.” He added, “The decision to introduce the resolution was pro-business, pro-healthcare and pro-first responders. This is not about me because I don’t like wearing a mask but this is the best way to protect our freedoms so we don’t have another shutdown.”
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 language of the resolution can be found here.
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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