Tourism council recommends mask mandate in Collier County

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein

Collier County Tourist Development Council approved a recommendation for commissioners to further consider a mask mandate in Collier County in a close 4-3 vote Wednesday. This came after passionate pleas from the public for the tourism council to oppose a mask recommendation.

Signs hang on storefronts in places such as along Fifth Avenue in downtown Naples, where some businesses, restaurants and hotels are requiring workers to wear masks. But what about the public?

A big debate surrounds the message being sent to Collier County’s visitors, as the tourism industry tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We require people to wear clothing; that is not unconstitutional. We require seat belts; that’s not unconstitutional,” said Commissioner Andy Solis.

Some board members prefer other methods over masks, such as beach restrictions.

And there is the question about whether they can enforce a mask mandate.

Public commenters spoke passionately against enforcing masks, arguing a mandate could hurt tourism even more.

Collier County Board of County Commissioners meets Tuesday to review the tourism council’s recommendation on masks.

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