Naples tables mask mandate decision after a rush to renewed discussion

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Credit: WINK News.

Naples City Council renewed discussion about a mask mandate Wednesday in what was a late addition to the meeting’s agenda. Ultimately, council decided to hold off on a decision of the matter and plan to discuss it during a special meeting next week.

City council members were visibly frustrated during the topic’s discussion, with Mayor Teresa Heitman saying she felt “blindsided” by masks being added to the agenda the morning of the meeting.

Councilman Gary Price brought forward the discussion. He says it would not sit right with him to do nothing.

Much of it focused on whether council should be talking about a mandate and whether they could legally discuss it, some feeling the public didn’t get adequate notice.

Fire Chief Pete DiMaria advocated for the city to pass a mask mandate and was happy with the outcome of the meeting, while others were not.

“Certainly encouraged by the discussion and happy to see we are moving in the right direction,” DiMaria said. “I feel like it’s an important mitigation strategy for our community.”

Public commenters were passionate about the issue. One of the public speakers at the meeting said she wished there had been more notice.

Council’s decision sided with that sentiment, and council members voted unanimously to continue discussion about a mask mandate in the city at 8:30 a.m. Monday during a special meeting.

In July, leaders decided against a mask mandate, and a mask mandate was already discussed earlier in December and also did not pass among city council.

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