Naples City Council favors masks but not a mask mandate

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After a five-hour special meeting Thursday with public comment and staff discussion, Naples City Council decided 4-3 to not mandate the wearing of masks in the city as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Council had options to approve the city’s own resolution or opt into the mask mandate already in place in the unincorporated areas of Collier County. Council members Ted Blankenship, Ray Christman and Paul Perry favored opting into the county mask mandatewhile council members Mike McCabe and Gary Price, Vice Mayor Terry Hutchison and Mayor Teresa Heitmann opposed a formal mandate. “I think we’ve made it very clear we support public safety,” Mayor Heitmann says, noting that the city partners with NCH Healthcare System for the “All Heroes Wear Masks” public service campaign and still encourages personal responsibility for residents and visitors to wear masks and social distance when possible. Vice Mayor Hutchison supports people wearing masks as a fundamental right to protect themselves but does not support a mask mandate, which he said is not enforceable. “We have said yes to masks, but no to the mandate,” Councilman McCabe says. 

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