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Tampa to give out free face masks as COVID-19 numbers rise

Two per resident.

The city of Tampa will distribute 355,000 free face masks starting Thursday in order to reduce the spread of COIVD-19.

The city plans to pass out the face coverings at four different park locations from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Residents can pick up two coverings per person.

“The continued use of face coverings is critical to flattening the curve of COVID-19 in our community,” Mayor Jane Castor said in a news release. “It’s important that we remain vigilant in our safety precautions and practice those simple healthy habits to protect not only just ourselves, but all our loved ones and community members around us.”

The city is also allowing businesses to request to pick up the necessary quantities of face coverings for staff and customers. 

On Tuesday, the state of Florida surpassed another grim milestone after recording more than 1 million cases. The state reported 8,847 new infections Tuesday, and the department now lists 1,008,166 cases in the Sunshine State, including 16,256 nonresidents.

Since October, cases have been on the rise again throughout the state, peaking at more than 10,000 new cases reported in one day last Wednesday. The latest resurgence in coronavirus outbreaks has been a gradual increase in daily cases as opposed to the spike observed in the summer.

On Monday, Hillsborough County reported 451 new cases, and has seen a 23.76% increase in cases over the past two weeks, according to the county dashboard. The county reported 2,284 hospitalizations, and has so far seen 933 fatalities from the virus.

Masks are available at the following locations:

— Himes Avenue Complex at 4501 S. Himes Ave.

— MacFarlane Park at 1700 N. MacDill Ave.

— Al Barnes Park at 2902 N. 32nd St.

— New Tampa Community Center at 17302 Commerce Park Blvd.

This is the second time the city is handing out free face coverings. In June, staff distributed more than 400,000 face coverings to the community.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

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