Orlando-area leaders encourage return to masking as coronavirus cases spike

click to enlarge Orlando-area leaders encourage return to masking as coronavirus cases spike
Photo via Twitter/Jerry Demings

Leaders in Orange and Seminole Counties are encouraging citizens to wear masks indoors as the number of coronavirus cases climbs.

COVID-19 infections climbed throughout the state of Florida last week, with many Central Florida counties being particularly hard hit. Seminole and Volusia counties saw positivity rates in the teens while Orange County climbed up to 8%, well over the threshold that had previously been used as a demarcating line for the end of mask mandates.

“Two weeks ago on June 28, it was 4.28%. We are now considered by the CDC the high-risk category for community transmission, that quite frankly is not good news for our county,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at his regular coronavirus briefing.

Though Demings is urging Orange County residents to mask up indoors, he's not yet ready to institute a mandate.

"This is a strong recommendation at this time,” he said.

Seminole County officials are also asking residents to wear masks indoors, as their positivity rate shot over 12 percent.

"Couple of weeks ago, all the numbers were showing improvement, so people went out and started celebrating, and maybe we celebrated a little too early," Seminole County emergency manager Alan Harris told WESH.

Were local authorities to issue a mandate, it's unclear whether or not it would be enforceable. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis passed a law and signed a temporary executive order deeply restricting the local emergency powers of Florida cities and counties. The order effectively nullified all local COVID-19 restrictions.

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