Two cities in south Palm Beach County announced Thursday afternoon that they are recommending their residents and visitors wear face masks in public, in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Boca Raton and Delray Beach took the precautionary steps within hours of each other.
The actions come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines this week and recommended that people wear “cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
The Boca Raton executive order adds that people should not use surgical masks or N95-rated masks, which are “critical supplies for health care workers, police, fire, emergency management, or other persons engaged in life and safety activities.”
Delray Beach has issued an Emergency Declaration, effective 4/11/20, asking visitors & residents to wear masks when inside grocery stores, convenience stores, retail establishments, pharmacies, retail food facilities or restaurants.
Learn more: https://t.co/agVf2guCro pic.twitter.com/gkilYl4UV9
— City of Delray Beach (@citydelraybeach) April 9, 2020
Chrissy Gibson, the communications and marketing manager Boca Raton, says if people defy an emergency order with a mandate, authorities could issue a “notice to appear” in court.
If a judge determines the person was violating the order intentionally, the individual could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, Gibson adds.
1/ The City has issued an order for the Use of Cloth Face Masks. Every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of #BocaRaton is encouraged to wear a cloth facial covering based on current CDC guidelines while in any public place.https://t.co/vQX6vC7pRq pic.twitter.com/gABMT7DEjk
— City of Boca Raton at (@CityBocaRaton) April 9, 2020
However, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer later clarified that there are no plans at this time to issue citations to anyone who does not follow the recommendations.
Other municipalities in South Florida, particularly in hard-hit Miami-Dade County, are now requiring everyone to wear face coverings inside businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants.
Within Palm Beach County, Delray Beach and Boca Raton are among the municipalities with the most COVID-19 cases.