WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FACIAL COVERINGS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
The following information provided by Monroe County spokesperson, Kristen Livengood:
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, facial coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn by all employees and all customers in business establishments and other public settings where there is a roof overhead in Monroe County. The ordinance applies to employees and customers. The ordinance permits restaurant and bar patrons to remove their masks while seated and eating or drinking and allows those working out in gyms to remove their face coverings while actively exercising, provided there is at least six feet of distance from the next closest person. The ordinance recommends that everyone over six years old carry a mask with them whenever they are away from home and recommends that they wear mask wherever they come within six feet of another person.
A face covering must cover the nose and mouth and may include a face mask, homemade mask, or other cloth, silk, or linen covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering. Medical and surgical face masks, such as “N95” masks, should be reserved for health care personnel and other first responders with the greatest need for such personal protective equipment.
The ordinance applies throughout the County and municipalities. Violation of the ordinance is punishable by fines, but not jail time. When a complaint is received, inspectors will visit the business. The business must ensure that employees and customers inside the establishment are wearing the required facial coverings. If violations are found, a written warning will be issued. If the business is still in violation when the inspector returns for a random, follow upon inspection, the business will receive a notice of violation to appear before the code compliance special magistrate, who can impose fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for repeat offenses. The business owner or manager must ensure that individuals inside the establishment are wearing the required facial coverings.
Code Compliance Numbers for Local Ordinance Requiring Masks:
Unincorporated Monroe County Dedicated Non-Compliance Number: 305-289-2819
Key West Code Compliance Number: 305-809-3737
Marathon Code Compliance: 305-289-5024
Key Colony Beach Code Compliance: 305-289-1212 ext. 3
Islamorada Code Compliance: 305-664-6435
Layton Code Compliance: 305-664-4667
If an employee or customer does not follow the establishment’s requests to wear a facial covering, the owner or manager can call Monroe County Sheriff’s Office or Key West Police Department to issue a trespassing warning. After hours or weekend issues needing immediate attention, can also be addressed to the Monroe County Sheriff Office Non-Emergency Line at 305-289-2351 for most of the Florida Keys and Key West Police Department at 305-809-1000 for the City of Key West.
Report businesses violating the Governor’s Executive Order 20-139 (capacity limitations) to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation: www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/emergency/
Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines of 6-feet between others and washing your hands to prevent the spread of this disease. Monroe County COVID-19 related information can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19. The State of Florida’s Executive orders can be found at www.flgov.com. The ordinance has a sunset date a year from now but will be formally looked at by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners every three months.