Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings: Masks Are Strongly Urged, But Not Required in Orlando and Orange County

Orange County doesn't follow Osceola County's lead, even as Osceola decides not to levy fines or jail residents for non-compliance.

It’s official: for now, Orange County residents aren’t required to wear masks when in public, according to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

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Mayor Jerry Demings Addresses the Press on April 13, 2020. (Photo Courtesy Orange County Government)

Mayor Jerry Demings Addresses the Press on April 13, 2020. (Photo Courtesy Orange County Government)

The mayor stated that while he strongly urges residents to wear masks, county leadership would stop short of ordering Orange County residents to wear them.

The decision not to mandate the facial coverings is due in large part to the shortage of masks available. But the mayor pointed out that it’s also because residents are already voluntarily complying with the request.

“If we require something in this community, we have to ensure that the electorate has a reasonable ability to comply with the order,” stated Mayor Demings.

The mayor also stated that some statistics are pointing to “flattening of the curve” in Orange County, and that much of the credit for this goes to residents’ cooperation with stay at home orders—and with voluntarily donning masks. At the time of today’s press conference, Orange County has 1,017 cases COVID-19, which have resulted in 14 documented deaths to date.

The discussion of whether or not to require masks came after neighboring Osceola County signed an executive order requiring residents to wear masks in public. The order took effect today, but was later amended to state that authorities will not issue fines or jail anyone in violation of the order.

In terms of next steps, Mayor Demings stated that more testing is absolutely necessary, as the county now shows COVID-19 cases in 49 of the county’s 50 zip codes. The county plans to offer more testing sites across the county beginning this week.


Categories: COVID-19