Council Passes Emergency Ordinance Requiring Face Coverings
On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, the Cocoa City Council unanimously passed Emergency Ordinance No. 13-2020 requiring masks/face coverings in places open to the public inside the City limits consistent with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) guidelines to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus locally. The emergency ordinance goes in to effect Saturday, August 15, 2020 and will be reviewed by Council approximately every thirty (30) days to determine whether it should be extended or terminated based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City seeks voluntary compliance with the emergency ordinance and will work with residents and local business owners to educate and inform them of actions associated with non-compliance. A website has been established to help the community stay informed with resources including frequently asked questions and signs for business owners to post at their establishments (www.CocoaFL.org/covid19).
The Ordinance is effective within the jurisdictional limits of Cocoa and non-compliance can be subject to non-criminal, civil code infraction for violations as follows:
- Prior to issuance of a citation, the person will be asked to comply or provide an exception noted in the ordinance for non-compliance.
- After continual non-compliance, a code enforcement citation may be issued for violation and a civil penalty imposed. (First two violations there will be no penalty. For the third and subsequent violations, a civil citation shall be issued with a penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each violation. In lieu of paying the civil penalty, the violator may provide one (1) hour of community service to address the needs within the City of Cocoa.)
There are exemptions to the Emergency Ordinance that preclude the requirement to wear a mask. Some of these exemptions include children under two (2) years old, if a medical issue prohibits the wearing of a mask, issues regarding ADA compliance, persons exercising while social distancing, those who are eating and drinking, those communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, and when social distancing is practiced.
Cocoa Mayor Jake Williams, Jr. said, “The goal of this Emergency Ordinance is to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus while at the same time keeping our community open for business and supporting our local economy. Wearing a mask not only protects ourselves, it protects our neighbors from exposure. By reducing the spread, we are also assisting our first responders and health care workers and allowing them to continue their essential functions in keeping our community safe and providing our core municipal services. We are hoping for voluntary compliance. We do not want to levy fines, we just want to keep our community safe.”
A full copy of the Emergency Ordinance No. 13-2020 can be found by visiting https://www.cocoafl.org/DocumentCenter/View/12925/City-of-Cocoa-Emergency-Ordinance-No-13-2020.
The City of Cocoa strongly urges all citizens to follow the CDC guidelines including social distancing, hand washing and hygiene and staying home if ill or if exposed to someone who has the COVID-19 virus. For more information on the virus and the City of Cocoa’s updates, visit www.CocoaFL.org/covid19.