On Thursday, October 15, the face mask mandate implemented by the Winter Haven City Commission expired. Businesses in the City of Winter Haven can still choose to require masks inside their facilities.
Face masks had been required in the City of Winter Haven in public indoor settings beginning on Tuesday, July 14 at 5:00pm.
On Monday, July 13, the Winter Haven City Commission voted on an Ordinance to require face masks: “Every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Winter Haven, Florida shall wear a face covering consistent with CDC guidelines in any indoor location, other than their home or residence, when not maintaining social distancing from other persons, excluding family members or companions.”
At the August 10 regular City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners approved an extension of the existing mask ordinance through September 15, 2020.
At the September 13 regular City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners approved an extension of the existing mask ordinance through October 15, 2020. Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-39
There is an exception for children under 8. There are also exceptions for youth sports, exercising, eating, and ADA conflicts – a full list of exceptions is below.
The City of Lakeland also voted to require face masks in public indoor settings beginning July 2, click here to read more.
We have a separate list of local businesses selling both disposable and reusable cloth face masks for adults and face masks for children. Click here to find out where to buy Face Masks.
Exceptions – those not required to wear a mask:
a. Persons under the age of eight (8) years old;
b. Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines;
c. Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition;
d. Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons;
e. Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other persons;
f. Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of their business or profession;
g. Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines;
h. Persons eating or drinking;
i. Persons under the age of eighteen (18) years old while participating in youth sports;
j. Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies;
k. Persons communicating with someone who is hearing impaired where the wearing of a face covering would impede communication, provided that social distancing is observed to the greatest extent practicable;
l. Persons for whom the requirement to wear a face covering would cause a conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Link to read full resolution: Emergency Ordinance No. O-20-32
How is face mask defined?
From the City of Winter Haven ordinance:
“Face Covering” shall mean a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands, whether store-bought or homemade, consistent with CDC guidelines.
“Social Distancing” shall mean keeping space between yourself and other people by staying at least 6 feet from other people.
How will this be enforced?
It is the intent of the City Commission to seek voluntary compliance with the provisions contained herein and to educate and warn of the dangers of non-compliance. Owners of businesses within the City of Winter Haven, Florida will be considered in compliance with the requirements of this Emergency Ordinance if they take four steps. Those include:
- Posting signage about the face covering requirement;
- Announcing the requirement over the businesses public address system, if possible;
- Requiring employees to wear face coverings, unless they are exempt;
- Making a “reasonable effort” to get customers to wear a face covering, which can include asking them to wear said face covering.
“In the event voluntary compliance is not achieved, then violation of this Emergency Ordinance, and any order issued pursuant hereto, shall be subject to a fine of One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150.00) pursuant to Section 1-13 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Winter Haven, Florida, or as otherwise provided by law.”
The ordinance is set to expire on October 15 unless extended or otherwise voted upon by the City Commission.