Leon County's mask mandate will stay in place for the time being. The county won't have much recourse if people ignore the rule. An executive order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis last week blocks local governments from collecting fines associated with mask ordinances. But county officials say that might not be as significant a change as some would think.
Even before the governor's order, Leon County Administrator Vince Long says people weren't paying fines for failing to wear a mask because the police weren't handing the fines out.
"No fines or penalties have been assessed by the Sheriff's Office or TPD for non-compliance with the ordinance," Long says.
And Leon County Health Department's Claudia Blackburn says masks serve a critical role. For example, she says some studies show that wearing a mask could help someone breathe in less of the virus even if they're near a sick person.
"You're more likely to have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all," Blackburn says.
In Leon County, more than 10,000 people have caught COVID-19.