The Alachua County Commission voted on Wednesday to approve a mask mandate for the next seven days, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the region.
The meeting and decision came after Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature worked in past months to preempt such local decision-making and give parents the option to opt their children out of wearing masks in schools.
Paul Myers, Florida Department of Health in Alachua County director, said “even though our vaccination rate has gone up, it hasn’t gone up fast enough.”
Myers also said “the cases continue to climb, we just surpassed 30,000 cases in the county; our positivity rate last week was reported at 16%. I’m confident that when the state numbers come out this Friday, they will be over that as well. So, all of the statistics combined, is very concerning to us.”
Commissioner Ken Cornell said the emergency meeting’s 7-day mask mandate, expected to begin late Thursday, is meant to act as “a short-term mitigation strategy to curve the Delta variant spike.”
The 7-day mask mandate states that people ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask indoors, including in private businesses.