FL Winter Haven City Commission drops mask mandate in wake of DeSantis executive order

Mask Enforcement 0 Comments 10/14/2020 

Police Department had issued no citations

- October 13, 2020

The Winter Haven Commission declined to extend the city's face mask mandate a third time Monday night. The face coverings law officially ends Thursday.

  • Winter Haven issued no citations during three month mask law was in effect.
  • City Commission passed mask mandate law during the peak of the pandemic outbreak in Polk County.
  • City borrows $1.5 million to create master water resource plan.
  • The city will take over the Winter Haven Garden Center in November.

WINTER HAVEN — This is how the city of Winter Haven’s controversial mask mandate law will end — not with a bang, but a whimper.

The City Commission at its Monday night meeting declined to extend the mask law for the third time and opted for a resolution strongly encouraging wearing masks in publicly accessible buildings.

Mayor Pro Tem Nat Birdsong voted with the other commissioners in favor of the resolution, but he said he would have preferred continuing the mandate law.

“I suspect if the numbers (of COVID-19 cases) go up again, we’ll have to revisit this issue,” Mayor Brad Dantzler said.

Commissioners Tracy Mercer, J.P. Powell and Brian Yates did not comment.

The commission passed the first emergency mask ordinance at its July 13 meeting after a countywide and statewide spike in COVID-19 infections. It expired after 30 days and carried a non-criminal fine of up to $150 per violation.

Winter Haven Mayor Brad Dantzler: “I suspect if the numbers (of COVID-19 cases) go up again, we’ll have to revisit this issue."

For the week of July 12, Polk County had 2,302 cases, including 463 cases in Winter Haven, the highest weekly total during the pandemic.

Despite the increase, dozens of local residents contacted the commission to protest the ordinance, often claiming it was unconstitutional or a violation of their personal liberty. Dozens of other citizens spoke out in support of a mandate as an effective countermeasure against COVID-19.

The commission renewed the ordinance in August and September, drawing a diminished level of public interest.

On Sept. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ issued an executive order suspending the collection of fines and penalties related to local COVID-19 measures, including mask ordinances.

In a workshop last week, commissioners agreed not to extend the mandatory mask mandate because of the governor’s order and despite the fact the Winter Haven Police Department had issued no citations for violating the law since its inception. The law expires on Thursday.

The resolution approved unanimously “strongly encourages the use of face coverings/masks and requests that all people who are able to wear face coverings/masks in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

The city received six emails from residents dealing with the resolution, all but one of them favoring extension of the mask mandate.

“I know the tide has already turned, but I thought I would make a final effort to continue the mask mandate,” said Sherry Barber in an email read by Dantzler. “The risk is all around us, and this is an opportunity to show leadership despite what the public wants.”

Only one person spoke over the Zoom platform during the commission meeting.

“I would personally like to see a mandate continue, but I understand this allows citizens to make a decision on their own,” said Lucerito Gonzalez, who said she worked at a school for special needs children and was concerned about protecting them. “It’s very important residents understand (wearing masks is) still important and that they have to take this seriously.”


Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

Definitive study establishes conclusively not only that masks don't work, but WHY.
Category: Published Studies: Masks are INEFFECTIVE
curated by Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D., J.D. – September 26, 2020IntroductionCOVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers. Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public setting...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/18/2020 
   - October 06, 2020[Open the link above to to view the charts which reveal there is no correlation (or "clear science") behind the use of masks and rates of "infection".] Excerpt:In case it isn’t obvious, these charts fail to show any correlation between mask mandates (which presumably increase the wearing of masks) and reductions in COVID-19 infections. If you l...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/07/2020 
   From: July 10, 2020The ADA and Small Business: Frequently Asked Questions About Face Mask Policies and Serving Customers with Disabilities.The Great Plains ADA Center has received many questions regarding face mask policies and the ADA from the business community. We have collected a summary of these questions and our...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  10/02/2020 
   [Dr. Ted Noel, MD: These studies reaveal the CDC has  "found no evidence that masks had any effect on transmission of airborne diseases, in particular H1N1 flu, which is spread the same way that SARS-CoV-2 is spread. Even when they lumped the fourteen studies together in a 'meta-analysis,' they still struck out." (source)]Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020Policy ReviewN...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  09/29/2020 
   From:[Note: this is not a study.  There are no references to any studies. This undated article, often referenced as proof that masks are effective, does not state that cloth masks are effective against the spread of the Coronovirus at all.  It contains obvious contradictions with c...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  09/29/2020 
   From: July 7, 2020The following are the references provided by the CDC as "Evidence for Effectiveness of Masks" (source)  Each one of these studies are not actually studies using the scientific method, but are instead mathematical or simulated representations of t...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  09/01/2020 
   From: August. 7, 2020CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the vi...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  09/01/2020 
   - August 13, 2020From for transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to close contacts of infected persons has not been well estimated.Objective:To evaluate the risk for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to close contacts in different settings.Design:Prospective cohort study.Setting:Close contacts of pe...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  08/20/2020 
   For the PDF version of this report, click here.Executive summary: In the first few months of the pandemic, there was scientific uncertainty about the usefulness of public masking. Conflicting guidance was given by several official sources1–4.There is now convincing evidence from multiple controlled experiments5–7 and field observations8–14 that wearing masks r...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  08/20/2020 
   Download attachment below.This document provides a high-level summary of CDC ' s sequential steps for increasing COVID - 19 surveillance in the U .S ., building on existing influenza and other surveillance systems. The total estimated funding level is $ 100million for year one , of which $ 50million should be available to CDC immediately and the remainder should bemade available within two mon...  READ MORE
- Fielden Nolan (nolanf),  08/15/2020 

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