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Advisory - Face Covering Orders

Posted By: Eric Garduño Advocacy News , Coronavirus (COVID-19) ,

The following information is a resource based on the best available information and should not be considered comprehensive.  It is your company's and/or community’s responsibility to make operational, policy, or staffing decisions based on a thorough review of ordinances/legislation/orders passed, internal review, and consultation with legal counsel.  Nothing contained herein should be considered legal advice or social guidance.

Advisory: Face Covering Orders in Tampa Region

In recent days, multiple jurisdictions have passed emergency orders or ordinances requiring use of face coverings and other related requirements.  This advisory is intended to provide an overview of these different measures and implications for business owners.  

Face Coverings

Unless denoted otherwise, in all the orders discussed below a face covering is defined as a cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose, and remains affixed in place without the use of hands.  In most cases, the orders directly reference the CDC guidance on face coverings, including instructions on making homemade face coverings contained therein.

City of St. Petersburg – Universal Face Mask Order

Effective Tuesday, June 23, 5PM, anyone 18 years and older are required to wear a face covering in places of public assemblage.  A place of public assemblage includes any room, space, common area, or other location within a building or structure that is located within the City that is open to the pubic or made available for use by the public.  A place of public assemblage does not include any dwelling unit within apartment buildings.  This order also does not apply to any location within a building or other structure if access to that location is limited to owners, employees, contractors, or volunteers, nor does it apply to outdoor or partially enclosed structures.

For people under 18 years old, discretion to use a mask is left to their parents/guardians.  Various further exceptions are provided, including but not limited to: locations where there are less than 10 people and everyone is social distancing, and if wearing of a mask is fundamentally incompatible with an activity, then wearing a mask does not apply during the course of the activity, such as eating and drinking, and while exercising. 

Violations of this ordinance are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 60 days, or any combination thereof. 

For more information, please consult City of St. Petersburg Executive Order 2020-26.

City of St. Petersburg – Business-Directed Face Mask Order

Effective Friday, June 19, 5PM, businesses in the City of St. Petersburg will be required to have all employees wear face coverings while in an area of the business that is open to the public.  These face coverings must be worn in a manner that covers the face and nose.  Various exceptions are provided, including but not limited to instances where it is fundamentally incompatible with a job task or if wearing a face covering would be detrimental to health, safety, or security.

The order also requires businesses to develop a written COVID-19 mitigation and contingency plan.  The written mitigation and contingency plans must incorporate specific guidance documents from the CDC and OSHA, including the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019” and “Resuming Business Toolkit” and OSHA’s “Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.”

In some cases, there may be applicable guidance to specific industries – for instance, the CDC’s “COVID-19 Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing” and Florida’s DBPR “Information for Gyms and Fitness Centers.” Where such additional guidance supplements CDC and OSHA guidance, it must also be incorporated into the written mitigation and contingency plan.  Where such guidance conflicts with CDC and OSHA guidance, the industry specific guidance supersedes the CDC and OSHA guidance.  Businesses are expected to incorporate into their written mitigation and contingency plans any future changes in applicable guidance as those changes are made.

Businesses must ensure each employee receives a copy of the written mitigation and contingency plan, receive training regarding compliance with the plan, and that each employee complies with the plan.  The plan must also be available to patrons.  Aspects of the plan that apply to patrons (i.e. social distancing or face coverings) must be clearly communicated via signage or other appropriate means. 

Violations of this ordinance are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 60 days, or any combination thereof.

For more information, please consult City of St. Petersburg Executive Order 2020-24.

Pinellas County

Effective Wednesday, June 24, 5PM, all persons must wear a face covering while in any indoor public place. An indoor public place includes any location the public has or may obtain legally permissible access, whether publicly or privately owned, that is under a roof or is enclosed by two or more walls. A plexiglass face shield may be worn in place of a mask type covering. Owners and operators of indoor public places, bars, and restaurants shall ensure every individual in that establishment complies with this requirement.

It is unlawful for an employer to prohibit any employee from wearing a face covering as personal protective equipment described in CDC guidance, but employers may establish uniform non-discriminatory standards that allow only specific face coverings provided by the employer that are at least as protective as the employee supplied face covering. 

Any business establishment that serves food or drink for on-site consumption must comply with the following: 1) social distancing must be maintained to the greatest extent feasible, 2) no food or drink may be served to patron for on-site consumption that are not seated at a table or bar, 3) tables must be spaced so all people seated at a table are six feet from people seated at a different table, 4) standing at a bar is prohibited, 5) no group larger than 10 may be seated at any table.

For people under 18 years old, discretion to use a mask is left to their parents/guardians.  Various further exceptions are provided, including but not limited to: locations where there are less than 10 people and everyone is social distancing, and if wearing a mask is fundamentally incompatible with an activity, then wearing a mask does not apply during the course of the activity, such as eating and drinking, and while exercising. 

Violations of this ordinance are subject to non-criminal citation, with a fine of $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation, and $500 for a third violation.  The County may also pursue injunctive relief and misdemeanor arrest for repeat violations.  Businesses shall not be held liable if a guest/patron refuses to comply and the business directs that guest/patron to vacate the premises. 

For more information, please consult the Pinellas County Emergency Ordinance 202-14 on Indoor Public Safety Requirements.

City of Tampa

Effective Friday, June 19, 5PM, everyone who lives, works in, or visits the City of Tampa is required to use a face covering in any indoor location (excluding homes/residences) when not maintaining social distance from others (excluding family members/companions). 

Various exceptions are provided, including but not limited to eating and drinking, exercising, people in a business or profession who do not have interactions with others, people who are observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines, and persons in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other people. 

Enforcement will be carried out via fines of up to $500.

For more information, please consult City of Tampa Executive Order 2020-27.

Hillsborough County

Effective Wednesday, June 24, 5PM, all persons within any indoor location of a business that is open to the public shall be required to wear a face covering when not social distancing from others (excluding family members or others residing in their home).  Business operators are required to enforce this requirement and shall deny admittance and compel removal from any indoor business location under their control of any person who fails to comply with this requirement.

Various exceptions are provided, including but not limited to persons eating and drinking, exercising, people in a business or profession who do not have interactions with others, people who are observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines, and persons in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other people. 

The order also strongly encourages businesses to develop and implement a health and safety plan consistent with this order requiring protective face coverings and CDC guidelines. It also encourages the business to post the plan in a conspicuous location that provides notice to persons within the business of the plan requirements. 

Enforcement will be carried out via fines of up to $500.

For more information, please consult the Executive Order of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group Requiring the Wearing of Protective Face Coverings.

Pasco County

Effective immediately, Tuesday, June 23, all persons within any indoor location of a business that is open to the public shall be required to wear a face covering when not social distancing from others (excluding family members or others residing in their home).  Business operators are required to enforce this requirement and shall deny admittance and compel removal from any indoor business location under their control of any person who fails to comply with this requirement.

Various exceptions are provided, including but not limited to persons eating and drinking, exercising, people in a business or profession who do not have interactions with others, people who are observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines, and persons in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other people. 

The order also strongly encourages businesses to develop and implement a health and safety plan consistent with this order requiring protective face coverings and CDC guidelines. It also encourages the business to post the plan in a conspicuous location that provides notice to persons within the business of the plan requirements. 

Enforcement will be carried out via civil citation of up to $250 and will begin Thursday, June 25, 5PM.

For more information please consult the Order Requiring Face Coverings – COVID-19