Collier County Commissioners to meet for decision on mask mandate extension

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Collier County Commission holds and emergency meeting regarding coronavirus.

The mask mandate in Collier County is set to expire Thursday at midnight and commissioners will meet earlier in the day to make a decision about extending it. Do business owners and patrons in Collier County still think it’s necessary?

Some business owners say without the mask mandate, it’ll be difficult to get customers to wear face coverings.

“I think as the economy is opening up people are getting more comfortable,” said Kristy Malloy, owner of Millstead Boutique in Naples.

Malloy sees that the number of positive cases is decreasing. “The numbers that you see that are sick, the numbers that you see that are not are like this,” she said. 

Those falling numbers of positive cases makes Harry Boardson think that the signs requiring masks around Collier County should come down now.

“I don’t want to be forced to wear a mask by anyone,” said Boardson.

While the mandate has turned some customers away, Malloy believes it has helped her business.

“We do service an older clientele so they were coming in with masks anyway,” she said. But “they are more comfortable when we are in a mask.”

Other business owners say that even if the mandate is not renewed, they will continue to require masks.

“We’ll continue to wear them to make our customers feel safe and comfortable,” said Tom Napoli of Pavilion Barbershop.

Some commissioners say it may be too early to relax the mandate, especially with schools reopening.

“It’s a personal choice. Show me where a mask has prevented … OK, an infection?” Boardson said.

While some say it’s time to unmask, others will continue to wear them just to feel comfortable and protected.

“I think if people have common sense, which most of us do…most of us are going to wear a mask in a crowd anyway,” said Clement Deluca of Collier County.

The county has compiled a list of about 100 complaints against businesses not enforcing the mask mandate. Only Seed To Table and Oakes Farms have received citations.

The commissioners meet Thursday at 1 p.m.

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