Masks aren’t mandatory in all public places, but local leaders are encouraging residents to wear them.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Despite businesses and government services reopening, the coronavirus pandemic continues as cases continue to rise.
Florida alone had a record 5,000 new confirmed cases on Tuesday. The state’s total cases stood at 109,014 with 3,281 deaths as of Wednesday.
As of the Daytona Times’ Wednesday night deadline, Volusia County had 1,369 cases with 53 deaths while Flagler County had 250 cases and five deaths.
Local governments are doing all they can to provide safe environments by following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Florida Department of Health.
Volusia prefers that people wear face mask in county buildings. The county also has taken measures of using plexiglass, cleaning and sanitizing regularly and social distancing.
“Face masks aren’t required but preferred. It’s the only proven way to safeguard yourself from contracting the virus and spreading it to others including your loved ones,” said Volusia County Councilwoman Barbara Girtman.
The City of Daytona Beach now requires everyone to wear masks inside city offices and buildings. The city commission approved the measure during its June 17 meeting.
“We have many local citizens who are employees. We have to keep our team members and our citizens safe,” said Daytona Beach City Commissioner Quanita May.
Other cities across the state are doing the same. Miami-Dade cities are requiring face masks in public places. Hillsborough, Orange and Pinellas counties have enacted similar policies.
In Daytona, those without face covering will be provided one by the city.
Children under 2 years old and those with medical conditions who can’t wear a mask are the only exemptions.
“There will be no fines for not wearing them. We are providing them if people don’t have them,” added May.
The city’s other safety precautions include social distancing, more sanitation and cleaning.
On Wednesday and Thursday, COVID-19 testing returned to Midtown with the opening of a site across the street from the Midtown police precinct at the corner of Nova Road and Orange Avenue at 310 Jean St.
The site operated for two days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday provided drive-through testing while Thursday took walk-ups.
Another testing site was held on Beach Street.
The city also provided testing to seniors at the Maley and Windsor Apartments, which are operated by the Daytona Beach Housing Authority on Tuesday.
Tests were done via nasal swab and sent to a lab to be returned within seven days. The site was a partnership between the city and Florida Department of Health. The health department plans to continue providing testing where needed.
“We are assessing the level of need for testing and making plans to meet that need. Testing is also being offered by other providers,” said Holly Smith, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health of Volusia County.
A previous site at the Midtown Cultural & Education back in April tested over 1,375 people with a positive result at 0.5-percent.