Mask mandate compliance in Panama City Beach

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 5:20 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - At Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Panama City Beach, masks are required before stepping in the door.

“I don’t think anybody really likes it, but it’s the thing to do so we can help protect the nation,” said owner Allen Cotton. He believes while customers still come to eat, they may now think twice before doing so. “A lot of our guests walk up to the door- ‘do we have to wear a mask?’ and we will answer ‘yes’. So they’ll go back to their car, get their mask, and then they’ll come in. Soon as they sit down they’ll take their mask off. Some we have to remind if they get up and go to the restroom- put their mask back on please.”

City leaders set a goal of 80% voluntary mask compliance, and while many businesses have met that goal, others still lag behind.

“Probably could do a little better with condo and hotel lobby areas and elevators- a little more difficult there, especially when people are going to the beach, we understand,” said Panama City Beach city manager, Tony O’Rourke.

To date, the city has not issued any citations, but code enforcement has issued eight violation notices.

“So a violation notice is basically a written notice that’s instructing you to make a correction. If the correction is not made then the city will move forward with a citation or a fine,” said the city’s code enforcement manager, James Tindle.

Whether the ordinance will help control the spread of COVID-19 is still to be determined.

“The CDC had indicated that based on their studies it took about 23 days before they saw a mandatory mask ordinance have an impact,” said O’Rourke, “but certainly it’s having some positive impact.”

For now the ordinance is not going anywhere. However, we’re told the city council will re-evaluate the mandate at its next meeting on August 13.

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