FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Jim and Kathy Byrne’s trip to Fernandina Beach over the weekend was their first big outing since the start of the pandemic.
“We came for the wedding and, now, we’re having some sightseeing time,” Kathy described.
Signs reminding of the city’s mask mandate are posted everywhere downtown.
Action News Jax reported in July when commissioners put the requirement in place.
Kathy said, “I can see, you know, everybody is really trying.”
In September, Action News Jax reporter Beth Rousseau talked to a Nassau County restaurant owner.
He was thrilled when county commissioners decided to lift the face covering order.
According to the owner, the rule kept customers away and hurt his bottom line.
In Fernandina Beach, city commissioners extended the face covering requirement through Nov. 6.
“One guy that I know, he will not wear a mask – no matter what. He’s older and he just won’t wear a mask, so, if you said he had to wear a mask, he wouldn’t go there,” Jim said.
On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard showed 2,224 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 49 deaths in Nassau County.
The Fernandina Beach zip code accounted for 797 of those testing positive.
Store and restaurant employees had mixed feelings about the extension of the mask mandate.
Some said it’s driving business down, while others admitted they don’t think it’s making a difference.
“Being older, I think it’s a good idea,” Kathy said.
Her husband added, “It’s like, if I’m going to go there, I’m going to do what they say.”
The Byrnes said they’re keeping their masks handy, looking forward to a time when face coverings aren’t a requirement.
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