As local COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations swell, an ordinance mandating residents wear facial coverings while in public places passed its final civic hurdle on Thursday: the Mayor's signature.
City Council approved the measure last week after weeks of debating the government’s authority to enforce it.
The regulation excludes children under 12 years of age and those who cannot cover their faces for medical reasons. Masks are encouraged but not required for those exercising outside, especially if a six-foot distance between others cannot be maintained.
As a condition of reopening, restaurant employees had previously been required to wear masks. Under the new mandate, guests are expected to cover their faces only when arriving. They are allowed to remove them once seated, but encouraged to wear them when ordering food.
So far, enforcement and punitive measures are minimal. Violators can receive a warning. Proponents of the ordinance say stricter penalties could follow if compliance wanes.