Naples City Council will not mandate masks, opt for strong campaign to help stop the spread

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Naples City Council meeting. (WINK News)

City council members decided this afternoon that no masks will be required in the City of Naples.

Many people are passionate on both sides of this controversial debate.

“I had a heart attack and I wear a mask for my own personal protection,” said Greg Jenkins, and he is thankful that will remain his choice — at least in Naples.

“For the government to step in and tell us how to breathe, I believe, is an atrocity,” he said.

It was decided that the city will not fall in line with Collier County and mandate people wear masks. After many comments on both sides of the issue and hearing from the medical community, “there’s now ample evidence that the use of face coverings by the public can reduce the risk of people who have COVID but don’t yet know it from transmitting the virus to others,” according to the Collier County Medical Society.

“I was keeping a list of cases in Naples and I found for 34102 there was one more death the next day. Sure enough, it was our friend,” said Elanor Richardson.

After going through that pain, Richardson wants to see stronger safety measures in public places.

”When you put on sunscreen or a seatbelt, it helps just you. When you put on a mask, it helps everybody. Think of kindness,” she said.

But some Naples business owners say a mandate could hurt the economy even more.

“It’s tough. It’s the toughest I’ve ever seen it,” said one business owner.

We spoke with Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann after the council voted to fight COVID-19 with a strong campaign instead.

“It doesn’t mean no masks in Naples because your government shouldn’t have to mandate it. This council supports masks, we just chose not to make it mandatory with enforcement or fines,” she said.

Heitmann says she belives their new approach will be enough to control cases in the city. The council plans to talk more about the campaign at their next city council meeting.

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