June 29, 2020
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally, Leon County Emergency Management is committed to actively monitoring the disease and coordinating preparedness efforts with local health officials, healthcare providers, first responders and other critical emergency response functions.
The following update provides a timely, accurate and vetted source of official County and community information.
Significant Changes Since Last Update
To Protect Public Health, County Requires Face Covering While Offering Free Face Coverings for Pickup
For FAQs regarding the requirement of face masks, click here. For sample mask signage, click here.
To view the signed Ordinance, click here.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public health of our community, Leon County approved an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings scheduled to begin Thursday, June 25 at 12:01 a.m. As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise locally and statewide, the ordinance states that an individual in a business establishment in Leon County must wear a face covering while in that business establishment.
A “business establishment” means a location with a roof overhead under which any business is conducted, goods are made or stored or processed or where services are rendered. The term “business establishment” includes transportation network companies, such as Ubers and Lyft, vehicles operated for mass transit, taxis, limousines for hire, rental cars, and other passenger vehicles for hire. The term “business establishment” includes locations where non-profit, governmental, and quasi-governmental entities facilitate public interactions and conduct business. The term “business establishment” also includes places of worship. See above for sample sign.
Facial coverings are not required to be worn by the following persons:
- A child under the age of 6;
- Persons who have trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition or individuals with a documented or demonstrable medical problem. It is the intent of this provision that those individuals who cannot tolerate a facial covering for a medical, sensory or any other condition which makes it difficult for them to utilize a facial covering and function in public are not required to wear one;
- Public safety, fire, and other life safety and health care personnel, as their personal protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies;
- Persons exercising while observing at least six feet of distancing from another person;
- Restaurant and bar patrons eating or drinking. It is the intent of this provision that a face covering will be worn while traversing a business establishment for ingress and egress, to use the facilities, and while otherwise standing when persons are unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distancing;
- Business owners, managers, and employees who are in an area of a business establishment that is not open to customers, patrons, or the public, provided that six feet of distance exists between persons. This exception does not apply to employees who are present in the kitchen or other food and beverage preparation area of a business establishment;
- An individual in a lodging establishment who is inside of the lodging unit, including, but not limited to, a hotel room, motel room, vacation rental unit, timeshare unit, or similar unit;
“In just the past five days, Leon County has seen a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases, and we all have a role in stopping the continued spread,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge. “While requiring face masks may inconvenience some, it will protect many more. I am proud of the Board’s decision today to safeguard our whole community, drive down infections, and save lives.”
“The science is clear and public health experts agree—the coronavirus spreads quickly indoors and face coverings are one of the most effective ways to limit that transmission,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “The ordinance reflects where we are today in responding to this pandemic, and we will continue to exercise every possible mitigation strategy in the future to keep our community safe.”
The ordinance does not require persons to wear face coverings while outdoors. However, the County still does strongly encourage residents to wear face coverings when unable to socially distance.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) recommend individuals use a cloth face covering in addition to practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.
“Asymptomatic infected individuals can release infectious aerosol particles while breathing and speaking,” said Florida Medical Association President Ronald L. Giffler, MD, JD, MBA in an earlier statement on face coverings. “Not wearing a mask or face covering increases exposure, whereas universal masking greatly reduces the spread of viral particles. The message is simple: For the sake of your health and the health of everyone around you, Florida’s doctors want you to wear a mask.”
Distribution of Free Cloth Face Coverings at County Libraries
Starting Wednesday, June 24, Leon County will make thousands of free face coverings available for pickup at all County library locations during regular hours, listed below. Five face masks per individual will be allowed to ensure adequate supply to meet demand.
- Main Library (200 West Park Avenue)
- Dr. B.L. Perry, JR. Branch Library (2817 South Adams Street)
- Eastside Branch Library (1583 Pedrick Road)
- Jane G. Sauls Fort Braden Branch Library (16327 Blountstown Highway)
- Lake Jackson Branch Library (3840 North Monroe Street)
- Northeast Branch Library (5513 Thomasville Road)
- Woodville Branch Library (8000 Old Woodville Road)
All County branch libraries are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The County main library is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. These additional masks complement the County’s ongoing efforts to distribute cloth face masks at faith-based organizations in southern Leon County, at the FAMU-Bond COVID-19 testing site at Bragg Memorial Stadium and at FDOH’s mobile testing sites throughout the community.
- Warning against Fraudulent Exemption Cards. Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Justice warned about fraudulent information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks. A fake agency, the "Freedom to Breathe Agency," is selling cards online that claim to exempt people from wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic. The postings, cards, and flyers were not issued by the Department of Justice and are not endorsed by the Department. The cards do not carry the force of law and the "Freedom to Breathe Agency," or "FTBA," is not a government agency.
- Suspension of on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars. On Friday, June 26, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) suspended on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars statewide, effective immediately. The order included all vendors licences for such sale who derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. The vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises. View Emergency Order 202-09, here.
- FAMU and FSU reopening plans were approved. Last week, the Florida Board of Governors approved the reopening plans for both universities in Tallahassee. Face masks will be required for all members of FSU's and FAMU's communities. Additionally, both schools have the goal to test all members of the universities' communities for COVID-19 and utilize contact tracing if there is a case identified on campus. Click here to read FAMU's reopening plan. Click here to read FSU's reopening plan.
- It’s Not Too Much to Mask Campaign. Leon County launched the social media campaign, It’s Not Too Much to Mask to encourage the use of masks and facial coverings in public. If you’d like to participate, post a masked-up selfie and share why you wear a mask and for whom using #MaskOnLeon.
- Leon County entered Phase 2 of DeSantis’ Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery on Friday, June 5. As detailed in Leon County’s COVID-19 Response and Re-opening Plan, consistent with Phase Two of Governor DeSantis’ Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery and in alignment with local, state, and national health expert guidance, Leon County Government re-opened certain programs and services on Friday, June 5. Frequently Asked Questions here. More at www.LeonCountyFL.gov/covid-19
- COVID-19 by the Numbers. Global cases of COVID-19 now surpass 10 million. According to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) there are or have been 998 positive cases of COVID-19 in Leon County. In Florida, there are or have been 146,341 positive cases of COVID-19, and 3,447 COVID-19-related deaths. These numbers are updated regularly by FDOH; visit the dashboard for more detailed information, here.
Click below to access more COVID-19 information:
As you may have noticed, we are no longer including the entire community update in this message. Instead, we have organized all of the information from previous community updates in a COVID-19 Information Portal. Below you will find the content available on the portal.
Continue to follow www.LeonCountyFL.gov/eip for any local updates or changes to services.