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St. Augustine Considers Mandatory Face Masks As St. Johns County 'Strongly Encourages' Them

In April masks were placed on the lion statues on the eastern side of St. Augustine's Bridge of Lions to encourage their use. At last report, the masks had been taken down.

Getting more people to wear face masks when they’re out in public is gathering momentum in St. Johns County.

St. Augustine’s City Commission has called an emergency virtual meeting for Friday, June 26, to consider a city resolution that would mandate the use of face coverings indoors, with the exception of homes, when social distancing is not possible.

Although the city is using the word "mandatory" in the proposed resolution for "every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Augustine," the resolution also reads, "All businesses are encouraged to prohibit entry of any person who is not wearing a face covering." The proposed resolution includes a fine of up to $500 for violators.

Related: Read the proposed resolution's complete text

The city cites “the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases” as the reason an emergency meeting is needed. The public can submit comments for the meeting via email at until 5 p.m. Thursday or by calling 904-293-4330 during the meeting, which will be streamed on the city’s website.

Thursday morning, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners issued a statement that “strongly encourages local businesses to mandate that employees and customers wear masks while inside their establishments.”

The commissioners are also asking business to take a pledge that they will adhere to CDC guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting protocols, group size limitations, social distancing recommendations, and enhanced employee protocols and training.

The county said businesses that take the pledge will be eligible to receive a limited mask allotment for their customers and employees. More information is available at, or by calling 904.824.5550 or email  

New St. Johns County COVID-19 Cases By Day

Credit Florida Department of Health

COVID-19 cases in St. Johns County have been steadily rising since June 12, with a 30-day peak of 43 new cases on June 19.  All told, there have been 587 COVID-19 cases among St. Johns County residents with 7 deaths and 56 hospitalizations. There have been 12 reported cases among non-residents, according to the Florida Department of Health.

As of Thursday morning, there have been 109,014 COVID-19 cases across Florida with 3,281 deaths and 13,574 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.