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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Pasco County Rescinds Executive Order Requiring Indoor Face Coverings

Coronavirus Face Masks
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Coronavirus Face Masks

County officials point to lower hospitalization rates and an increase in residents getting vaccinated in relaxing the mandate.

Pasco County no longer is requiring face coverings to be worn inside public places.

County officials on Monday issued an executive order that rescinds its previous mandate that face coverings be worn indoors.

The order, however, does not apply to Pasco County schools, which will continue to require face coverings.

In a news release, county officials cited lower hospitalization rates for patients “with severe COVID-19 symptoms” as well as an increase in residents receiving coronavirus vaccines.

The release says 70% of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated, while 57% of residents 50 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

While face coverings will no longer be required, officials “strongly encourage” residents to wear them in indoor public places where you are not able to maintain social distancing.

Face coverings will still be required on county public transportation, and the order does not apply to court operations.

Also, some stores and restaurants, such as Publix and Home Depot, may still require face coverings, regardless of local rules.

In a release, Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning said the school district will continue to require face coverings for the health and safety of students and staff.

“I cannot in good conscience abandon our health and safety protocols at this time,” Browning said in a statement. “Our protocols have helped to prevent, and certainly reduce, the spread of COVID-19 among our students and staff.”

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