At their July 1 special meeting, the City Commission voted 3-2 to adopt Resolution No. 23-20 mandating the wearing of face coverings in public. Of note, the resolution will not be enforced by police nor carry any penalties for non-compliance.
The resolution also encourages businesses to prohibit entry of any persons not wearing a face covering except for those:
- under the age of two years
- observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
- for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
- working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with others, maintain social distancing from others, or where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of the business or profession
- exercising while maintaining social distancing
- eating or drinking
- hearing impaired who needs to see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering to communicate
Public safety, fire, and other life safety and health care personnel will be governed by the personal protective equipment requirements of their respective agencies.
First suggested during the commission’s June 23 regular meeting, discussion on a citywide resolution addressing face coverings in public continued at a June 30 special meeting until there was agreement among the elected representatives to set an additional special meeting on July 1 to adopt one.
The resolution takes effect immediately and shall automatically expire upon termination of the city’s emergency declaration, adopted on Mar. 17, 2020.
In its original form, the resolution’s language “encouraged” the use of face coverings but then changed to “mandate” at the request of commissioners to emphasize how important they feel the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is to New Smyrna Beach residents and visitors.
As of noon on July 1, confirmed cases in Florida numbered 156,288 with 6,563 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. To date, there have been 45 Florida resident deaths related to COVID-19.
In other action, Mayor Russ Owen reported sending an e-mail on behalf of the City Commission to the Volusia County Council requesting the closure of beaches ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend to slow community spread in New Smyrna Beach. The request was not approved, citing preventative measures already implemented by county government to promote adequate social distancing.