Jacksonville making masks mandatory weeks before hosting RNC

State - Regional

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — The City of Jacksonville, the site of this year’s Republican National Convention, will start mandating masks Monday evening.

According to a post on the City of Jacksonville Facebook page, the mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. Masks will be required in “public and indoor locations” and wherever social distancing cannot be practiced.

“Health care experts advise that masks and cloth face coverings that help slow the spread from individuals with COVID-19 to vulnerable populations, including from those who are asymptomatic,” city officials said in the post. “We continue to urge everyone to practice personal responsibility and do their part to help stop the spread of this virus.”

The mandate announced by city officials Monday afternoon comes as new cases of coronavirus continue to increase by the thousands each day in Florida. More than 5,000 new cases were announced by the Department of Health Monday morning.Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried calls for Florida statewide mask order 

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday doubled down on his decision to not implement a statewide mask mandate. Instead, he said he’s trusting people to make good decisions.

Without a statewide mandate, some counties and cities – including several in the Tampa Bay area – have decided to pass their own ordinances to mandate masks locally.Where are masks mandated in Tampa Bay? 

Monday’s announcement also comes just weeks before the Republican National Convention is set to take place. Earlier this month, it was announced that this year’s convention was moving to Jacksonville.

The convention was originally supposed to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Donald Trump and the GOP decided to move the convention after Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the GOP couldn’t hold a full-scale rally in Charlotte over coronavirus concerns.Florida Republicans excited to bring RNC to Jacksonville

The RNC plans to hold the president’s acceptance speech of the Republican nomination in Florida while still holding official convention business in North Carolina.

The convention is scheduled to begin Aug. 24 and wrap up on Aug. 27. Monday’s announcement from the City of Jacksonville did not mention how long the mask mandate will be in effect, so it’s not clear yet if masks will be mandated at the RNC.

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