Officials have ruled visitors and residents of the Florida Keys will be required to wear face masks until June 2021.
The Monroe County Commission voted Wednesday to require anyone, including employees and customers, to wear face coverings at any business or establishment, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"Facial coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn by all employees and all customers in business establishments and other public settings where there is a roof overhead," said county spokesperson Kristen Livengood in a press release.
Key West had previously imposed this ruling, however, some parts of the Keys have relaxed these requirements after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) initiated phase two of Florida's reopening plan that started June 5.
Still, the ruling from Monroe County now calls facial coverings mandatory, and violators could face a $500 civil fine.
The ruling comes as several studies released recently suggest that facial coverings can significantly reduce the spread of coronavirus. A study from the University of Cambridge found that widespread use of face masks can be a less costly way of continuing life by requiring people in indoor public spaces to require a face covering.
Wearing a face mask could be a way to reduce the spread of the virus without having to rely on much harsher measures like stay-at-home orders and business closures.
According to the release, there is no threat of jail time for violating the ordinance. However, officials have established a hotline number for those who wish to report businesses failing to comply with the directive.
The Sentinel reported the county commission would revisit the restrictions every quarter for evaluation.
Exceptions to the rule state that children ages 6 and younger are not required to wear masks, and those who are eating and drinking at establishments or working out at the gym are not required to wear a mask as long as they 6 feet apart from one another.
The county has seen far fewer cases in comparison to the Miami-Dade area, just north of Monroe, and has reported at least 23,270 cases and 850 deaths, with new cases and deaths rising since May 31.
Monroe County has reported four deaths and 137 cases have been reported in the area.