Mask era ends in Jacksonville
Lenny Curry urges Duval to get vaccinated.

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Curry is lifting his months-old, toothless order.

Duval County residents who amassed a mask collection in the pandemic age may soon find themselves without reason to wear them.

On Friday afternoon, Jacksonville announced plans to drop the mask mandate that has been in place since the summer. Notably, the decision was just days after Vice President Kamala Harris came to town to highlight virus response efforts.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the decisions I’ve made have been based on data. I’ve worked with hospital leadership, researchers, emergency management and more to make decisions that will help keep our community safe. At this time, based on current data, I have decided to lift the mask mandate that requires masks be worn indoors, in public spaces, where you could not be six feet apart,” Republican Mayor Lenny Curry said, as reported by WJXT.

Jacksonville instituted a mask order in late June of last year, as case counts surged, hospital intakes swelled, and the city attempted to recruit the Republican National Convention for a full-scale event.

The RNC ultimately occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina, where it was originally scheduled.

The mask mandate was non-binding, without any meaningful enforcement component, but it was set up for a legal challenge over the summer, one that it ultimately survived.

Duval County Circuit Court Judge Katie Dearing rejected the challenge in September from Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who filed a challenge in July on behalf of Jacksonville businessman Jason French.

“The Mayor, politically accountable to the City of Jacksonville, has determined that this measure meets the dangers presented to the City and its people by the COVID-19 emergency,” Dearing wrote in a 21-page opinion that comported with other such suits around the state.

However, with a Governor adamantly opposed to virus enforcement orders, and the optics of the vice presidential visit in the rear view, Duval County clearly felt this was as good a time as any to drop a mask order that was followed sporadically, at best, anyway.

“This action demonstrates that we are another step closer to getting back to normal, but we are not there yet,” Curry said Friday.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Frankie M.

    March 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    How is this “order” any different than the ones before? Without enforcement it’s been meaningless. #letsgetreadytorumble #UFC

  • Ben

    March 27, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Will it be now depends on businesses and individuals to wear masks?

    • Frankie M.

      March 29, 2021 at 8:55 am

      It has always been that way. The party of personal accountability is all bark and no bite.

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 30, 2021 at 6:01 am

    Lol. The pc of “wearing masks”. May be enough to keep the lawyers off of winning multiple law suits against the Mayor and Jacksonville and away from our tax dollars. But the big ones will get the bucks because our leaders and government have failed to serve and protect the common good. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022!

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 30, 2021 at 6:06 am

    The pretense of following science” wear a mask” data may have been in place long enough to protect some of our tax dollars. Good lawyers are laughing. Science is the basis for our common good, from wearing masks to brake lights. No scientific authority can back up this reckless decision. Trump killed almost 300000 Americans with the Nazi herd immunity. President Biden is given local state and national a set of science based reasons for restrictions. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022!

  • bob

    March 30, 2021 at 9:06 am

    lets be honest. no one was wearing a mask in jacksonville.

Comments are closed.


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