Mask mandate expired in Naples, Collier County but some businesses still want you to mask up

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Melissa Montoya
Credit: WINK News

The mask ordinance in Naples and Collier County expired on Tuesday night.

While some are celebrating others are worried about COVID-19 spreading.

“I think people just want to get out and breathe,” said Marcie Roggow, of Naples.

PJ Smith, of Naples, said she feels like she is alive again.

“I think it’s very refreshing,” Smith said. “I think the seasonality of our population here it’s a good time to take it off they are all going home, and it’s a good time to go back to a kinda normal.”

But businesses at shopping centers like Naples Plaza and Third Avenue are asking customers to continue masking up.

Heather Neils, owner of Silver Eagle of Fifth Avenue, a jewelry store, said she would prefer people keep wearing the mask until more people have been vaccinated. Neils said she would keep her sign up asking that people wear their masks.

And while there is no law requiring masks, private businesses have the right to ask a customer to leave if they don’t comply with their given mask policy.

“We just had spring break and thousands of people are traveling here, and it’s a lot of germs,” Neils said.

“I’m afraid to just let go and alright, let’s just trust everybody’s vaccinated,” Neils added.

“We are following CDC guidelines, so when they say it’s safe to not require, then we will not require a mask,” Neils said.

Faith, of Naples, said she believes the mask mandate should still be in place.

“We are still under high COVID numbers,” Faith said. “I think to protect each other it’s just a small thing to do to protect yourself and protect others.”

But still, even though she is happy to breathe freely again Roggow said it’s important to respect the wishes of others.

“If I go into somebody’s private home or business and they require it, that is their choice, and you have to follow that,” Roggow said. “If you don’t want to go in, then don’t go in.”

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