City of Jacksonville Imposes Mask Mandate as GOP Convention Approaches

“At 5 p.m. today, the City of Jacksonville will be adopting a mandatory mask requirement for public & indoor locations, and in other situations where individuals cannot socially distance,” the City of Jacksonville announced on social media:

“Healthcare experts advise masks and cloth face coverings help slow the spread from individuals with COVID-19 to vulnerable populations including from those who are asymptomatic,” city spokesperson Nikki Kimbleton said Monday.

“We continue to urge everybody to please practice personal responsibility, do your part to please help stop the spread of this virus,” she added.

Children under the age of two will reportedly be exempt from the order.

Mayor Lenny Curry (R) was not in attendance at Monday’s briefing due to a family commitment, but Politico reported that discussion on a mandate had been in the works, reaching a “final turning point” following “the decisions by the Coast Guard and Navy, which has two facilities in Jacksonville, to order indoor mask-wearing.”

Jordan Elsbury, the city’s chief of staff, said officials came to the decision after speaking with Jacksonville hospitals.

It remains unclear if the mask mandate will remain in effect through the Republican National Convention in August.

Jacksonville follows the nearby City of St. Augustine, whose mayor and city commission issued a mask mandate last week. The mandate states that “every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of St. Augustine shall wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than their home or residence, when not maintaining social distancing from other person(s), excluding family members or companions.”

It also encourages businesses to “prohibit entry of any person who is not wearing a face covering,” and threatens a fine of up to $500 for those who violate the resolution.

As of Monday, Duval County, which has a population of over 957,000, had reported 5,839 positive cases of the Chinese coronavirus and 64 related deaths since March 1.