Monroe County is now requiring all workers and customers to wear masks in public amid in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The order was issued Thursday morning and effective immediately for all locations that have a roof, including bars and restaurants in tourist hot spots like Key West and Key Largo.
The ordinance permits restaurant and bar patrons to “remove their masks while seated and eating or drinking and allows those working out in gyms to remove their face coverings while actively exercising,” provided social distancing is maintained.
Face coverings include a facemask, homemade mask or other covering such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering.
Some business owners and residents NBC 6 spoke with said they're fine with the added protection.
"Just recently we’ve gone ahead and gone with the ordinances and we have the six-foot social distancing in place, we’re requiring everyone to wear the masks, we have sanitation stations throughout the whole facility," said Carrie Pino, with the Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe. "We’re just trying to make sure that all of our customers are taken care of as well as safe and abiding by the county.”
“We live in Duck Key and I’ve been noticing people not wearing the mask. They should all wear it because it’s a simple rule to keep us all back to normal," resident Kathy Nelson said. "People were not listening and they were not wearing the mask so I’m glad. We all need to wear it.”
The news comes nearly three weeks after the Florida Keys reopened to non-residents on June 1st, a move that came over two months after officials closed the county to visitors in an effort to stop the spread of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, Monroe County had 146 COVID-19 cases and 4 virus-related deaths.