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article imageJacksonville mandates mask wearing ahead of GOP Convention

By Karen Graham     Jun 29, 2020 in Politics
Jacksonville - Residents and visitors in Jacksonville, Florida will be required to wear masks indoors and in public spaces to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the city announced Monday. The order goes into effect on June 29, at 5 p.m.
"At 5 p.m. today, the City of Jacksonville will be adopting a mandatory mask requirement for public & indoor locations, and in other situations where individuals cannot socially distance," the city tweeted. "Please continue to practice personal responsibility to help stop the spread of this virus."
The order comes as Florida has seen a record number of coronavirus cases over the past several days. Just last week, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he had no plans to issue a face mask mandate.
However, Jordan Elsbury, Chief of Staff for Mayor Curry, said the decision was made to mandate face-coverings after speaking to leaders of local hospitals on Monday morning. “Every single day, almost, we have conversations with hospital providers and CEOs and other members of our community and we felt that it was time to take this step,” Elsbury said.
Bumping up against the GOP Convention
The GOP announced earlier this month that the party was going to have its national convention in Jacksonville. This would include Trump's speech accepting the party's nomination. The move came about after a heated squabble with the governor of North Carolina over whether the massive gathering could take place in Charlotte, without social distancing, according to The Hill.
Trump is scheduled to deliver his speech on Aug. 27 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which holds around 15,000 people. Trump has already made it clear he is against restrictions on crowd size, and he is opposed to the idea of requiring masks or spacing out attendees every six feet. That argument was at the center of his disagreement with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
Trump is not winning the popularity prize in Duval County, where Jacksonville is located. A poll released last week by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows that Republicans in Jacksonville, Florida have soured on Trump.
The survey of 2,524 registered Duval County voters revealed that President Donald Trump's approval rating was now underwater, even though he had carried the county in the 2016 presidential election. Just 39 percent of registered voters approve of the President, with a full 61 percent disapproving.
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