Mayor Wants Town To Enforce The Mask Ordinance

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And that includes fines if they are warranted. The Mayor wants the town manager to do his job and enforce the ordinance. The conversation was initiated by Councilman Bill Veach who also wants to see the town’s mask ordinance more strictly enforced. The ordinance has been in effect for months and not a single ticket has been issued.

Town Manager Roger Hernstadt is not a fan of having town employees enforce the controversial ordinance because he believes it may lead to confrontation. In addition, any resident could simply deny a code officer his or her ID to avoid getting a ticket for not wearing a mask. And it’s clear Lee County deputies are not going to get involved in enforcing the town’s mask ordinance.

When Veach questioned Hernstadt about enforcement on Monday he said the staff is not prepared or trained to deal with confrontation. “They are trained to educate and walk away. This issue has proven to be highly emotional. However, we work for the council and if the council wants us to start doing that, we will do it.”

The town’s ordinance covers both residents and businesses. Residents and visitors are required to wear a mask, even outside, if they are unable to social distance. They are required to wear masks when they go into businesses. Businesses are required to have employees wear a mask or face up to a $500 fine. Governor Ron DeSantis recently issued an Executive Order stating that “the collection of all fines and penalties throughout the state associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals are suspended.” Town attorney John Herin has advised the town that the town ordinance is still enforceable, fines included.

Mayor Ray Murphy, a big proponent of the mask, seemed to target businesses specifically. He said if there’s a complaint, and there have been complaints from residents, that a certain establishment is not following the ordinance, you don’t have to go down there and get in a confrontation with them. All you have to do is go down there and look in the window.

Murphy said he’s more concerned with the establishments themselves that are saying to hell with your ordinance. “I had heard of that happening several weeks ago. I’m not for going after every individual with a mask patrol and throwing them down on the sidewalk and slapping the cuffs on them. I don’t want to do anything like that. Our whole goal here has been education. We’ve been trying to educate people all along. Maybe we’re not getting the word out that Fort Myers Beach has a mask ordinance in effect. And we expect for our safety, and for your safety, it to be followed. We’re trying to do our part to stop the spread.”

Veach, quoting a study from Vanderbilt University, said mask mandates are effective and studies have been showing that. He suggested that if someone complains and the town investigates a location and finds they are not in compliance that location should be fined. The Mayor added, ‘How else do you get compliance?”

Councilman Dan Allers said this will lead to confrontations to which the Mayor responded, “that’s just life in the big city. That’s the way that works.”

Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros said she does not want to micro-manage the town manager.

The Mayor disagreed that the council was micro-managing the town manager. “We passed an ordinance that you voted for Vice Mayor that has provisions in it, and has fines, and goes about how to enforce it. It’s up to the town manager to enforce. I don’t think that’s micro-managing. I think that’s asking him to do his job.”

Councilman Jim Atterholt voiced his concern that the town was selectively enforcing the ordinance by targeting businesses. Atterholt and Allers did not vote for the mask mandate.

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. We’ll be watching. For those businesses who don’t respect their patrons enough to have your employees wear a mask…you will be reported!! Wise up dumb asses or are you just too cool to wear a mask. Get ready for fines!!!!!’

  2. We’ll be watching. For those businesses who don’t respect their patrons enough to have your employees wear a mask…you will be reported!! Wise up dumb asses or are you just too cool to wear a mask. Get ready for fines!!!!!’

  3. Wearing a mask to walk into a restaurant and then taking it off to eat or drink doesn’t make sense.
    We have followed the rules for many months. Mr Mayor just let it go. Don’t be a dictator.

  4. All this mask wearing has deprived your brain of oxygen. Has to be something causing this stupidity. Come up for some air.

  5. This is all so much bullshit. An unneeded, ridiculous ordinance that does nothing but frustrate and annoy business owners and the public and create turmoil in the community. Lee County has no mask ordinance so businesses and people do what they feel is best, and most everyone we see there are wearing masks … without a silly ordinance telling them they have to. This is beyond frustrating. Bill Veach needs to go back to Colorado and be among the other leftist snowflakes where he fits in. And the mayor needs to align himself with the initiatives of Lee County and the state of Florida instead of acting as an autonomous, arrogant know it all. FMBs mask ordinance puts the town manager, the towns employees, the LCSO, business owners, vacationers and the general public in a very difficult and confusing situation.

  6. This 8 month BS is about to end! Dare them to fine us!! We will be in court!
    It’s been eight months and we didn’t make it mandatory for our employees/customers to wear masks, we left it up to the individual as their choice to wear, As it should be! After being on hold with The Department of health Business professional regulations (DBPR) who holds our licensees for restaurants and under health code & safety, it’s not a mandate or regulation in Florida, I mean HELLO, if it was bad as some are making it out to be the health department would’ve made it mandatory for all restaurants!! it was never in place! That should tell most Americans!!
    JUST WORRY about your damn health, we will worry about ours!
    Pathetic is what it is! To whom it may concern: You’re not a leader if no one wants to follow…..
    the Mayor/city Council whoever still wants the masks in place, you have truly lost it!
    You’re power tripping and controlling needs to stop.
    Very sad you would put code enforcement through this to harass businesses when most haven’t even wore for the past eight months. You are wasting peoples time! Again let people worry about theirselves. Enough is enough for GOD sakes!!

  7. How are these ass clowns still in charge of FMB!!!

    Please tell me we have a qualified candidate running against them

  8. I don’t think masks “work”. However, they help. THe reduce the opportunity for this virus, and others, to spread, so they help. They should be worn when appropriate. People working at and visiting FMB establishments, while indoors, should be wearing masks where they can’t practice social distancing. However, this ordinance is flawed on multiple levels. Its first mistake is that it has no end date. Any Covid related ordinance should have an automatic end date. If it needs to continue then the council can make a new ordinance with a new end date. Its second flaw is the ability to enforce it. The town does not have the ability to force compliance. They can easily enough, however, enforce the town business to follow the ordinance. Local town code enforcements visit a business, observe the mask usage, file a report, and send a fine if applicable. If the business actually get fined, they will follow the ordinance. Its that simple. I agree with the Mayor here, the Town Manager is not doing their job. I know it’s har to enforce the TOwn Code, but that is a main responsibility of a Town Manager. If the Town is not going to enforce this ordinance then it needs to end.

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