Commissioners voted 3-2 Thursday to extend Collier County’s mask mandate
another seven weeks after hearing from scores of citizens who spoke on both sides of the divisive issue. Without Thursday’s action, the emergency executive order made July 21 would have expired at midnight. Commissioners Donna Fiala and Bill McDaniel voted against extending the face-covering mandate, while commissioners Burt Saunders, Andy Solis and Penny Taylor voted to extend the order until Oct. 22. The three commissioners who voted for the mandate wore masks on the dais Thursday while the two who opposed it did not wear masks during the meeting. The mandate requires the covering of one’s nose and mouth in public buildings and businesses in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve the health, safety and welfare of the community. The requirement does not apply to restaurant patrons dining or drinking while seated at a table, gym patrons while working out, or by people getting haircuts if wearing a face-covering interferes with service. No criminal penalty is associated with the order, which is enforced via code enforcement. Widespread compliance of the order has been seen in the last 45 days when five violations, which carry fines up to $500, have been issued to businesses after 98 verified complaints were filed. Commissioners also voted 4-1 Thursday to retain outside counsel to represent commissioners Saunders, Solis and Taylor, who are individually being sued by Oakes Farms owner Alfie Oakes because of what he claims to be the federal unconstitutionality of the mask mandate. McDaniel voted against the action.
Community members can help decide how hundreds of thousands of dollars are used to help neighbors make ends meet. The city of Fort Myers sent out a survey
asking how it should allocate $600,000 for low-income families. The city says it wants to prioritize efforts such as assisting the homeless, retaining housing stock, and increasing the availability of affordable housing, WINK News reports.
The 24th Semi-Annual Home & Garden Show will return to downtown Fort Myers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19-20. Now in its 24th year, Expo Management Inc.’s semi-annual Home & Garden Show features more than 100 local and regional companies that display and present products and services to homeowners. The show will be the first public event at the new Caloosa Sound Convention Center, according to a news release. A ribbon-cutting with Luminary Hotel officials and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson will be held to open the Caloosa Sound Convention Center at 10 a.m. on Sept. 19. The 2020 Semi-Annual Home & Garden Show will follow the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, state, and local safety recommendations, which will include promoting social distancing, the wearing of facial masks, one-way direction only aisles a minimum of eight feet wide and hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue. Masks will be provided to attendees without masks.