BREVARD COUNTY — Despite the public outcry of wearing masks, health officials are still encouraging residents to take precautions when venturing outside of their homes.
Yet during the past two weeks, a number of Covid-19 cases were reported to be on the rise in Florida. Meanwhile, the Florida Health Department’s Covid-19 data and surveillance dashboard reported on June 19 that there has been 736 cases and 16 deaths in Brevard County.
Doctor’s offices, airlines, and some local businesses have made it a requirement for its customers to wear a mask when using its services.
West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose recently urged his citizens to take heed and wear a mask when going out in public.
“I agree with the advice of medical professionals that wearing a mask is one of the best universal precautions,” Mayor Rose said in a statement. “Thus far, we have been successful in keeping hospital beds available, and the medical community is learning how to best treat the most critical patients infected with the virus. Nonetheless some of us have let our guard down, and we should all re-commit to being responsible community members.”
Anita Stremmel, assistant county health department director for the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County said, “We support the CDC’s recommendation for cloth face coverings.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips on its website for those seeking advice, from washing your hands often to avoiding close contact with people who are sick and putting distance between yourself and others when in public.
The public, however, has voiced their mixed opinions on whether they should keep wearing a mask in public or not. Hometown News asked Facebook users to comment what their thoughts are on the matter, and many were split down the middle.
“Masks should not be optional!” said Dusty L. Nettik. “My mask protects you, your mask protects me and everyone I come in contact with for two weeks.”
On the other hand, Grace Walker Ban replied, “No masks! Unless if it its required. I think they’re ridiculous.”
For people who have had friends and family members diagnosed with the virus, they understand it is not a joke.
Barbara Fradkin, director of One Senior Place, said she wished wearing masks was mandatory in Brevard County.
“Not only are you protecting yourself but you’re protecting the other people too,” Ms. Fradkin said. “I think if everybody wore them, we could try to keep this virus down a little bit. I’m amazed when I go into the grocery stores or Wal-Mart, and see even the seniors without masks. I think it’s important that all the people who have influence should be showing other people how important it is to wear a mask.”
Some seniors are not willing to take the risk, and have commented that they are staying home as much as they can.
“In our mid-70s and taking no chances, so yes – wearing masks at Publix,” commented Brenda Bradley McMillan. “Not going to restaurants or other shopping at this time.”
Robin Parsons commented on Hometown News’ Facebook post, “I wear a mask whenever I go shopping, pick up food from a restaurant or to a medical appointment. I am disappointed & sometimes disgusted that other people aren’t courteous enough to wear masks to protect me from their particulates, but I continue to wear my masks. If more people would wear masks, I would feel it safe to go to eat in restaurants, shop in stores and listen to live music, but unfortunately other people don’t wear their masks. So our economy won’t recover faster because too many of us will not participate.”
Other residents do not agree.
Alicia Vasquez replied, “I have not worn a mask at all and will not wear a mask. If the store requires it, I will go somewhere else. They obviously don’t want my money. I don’t wear a mask during flu season! Please do some research! Stop just believing everything you hear on the news.”
The Florida Health Department shared that according to an extension to Executive Order 20-139, travelers entering the state of Florida from Connecticut, New Jersey or New York must self-isolate for 14 days from their entry into Florida or the duration or their stay, whichever is shorter.