Pinellas County Face Covering Ordinance 20-14 Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to wear a face covering everywhere I go?

All persons must wear a face covering while in most indoor public places within Pinellas County, although the Board provided several exceptions.

What places and activities are exempt from the face covering requirement?

Activities such as the following can take place without wearing a face covering:

  • Participating in religious rituals, such as various forms of singing, provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
  • Exercising while social distancing, such as when working out at a gym.

The requirement also does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.

What about children and other people under the age of 18? Are they required to wear a face covering?

If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult.

I don’t have a face covering. Where can I get one?

The county is partnering with several library branches and community organizations to provide a limited supply of free face masks throughout the county on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the face mask distribution page for details on the latest locations and contact information so you can check availability before heading out to any of the locations. You can also make a face covering from a clothing article, such as a scarf, or from a piece of fabric.

I or someone I know has medical issues that affect the ability to wear a face covering. What happens in those situations?

Individuals with a medical issue that prevents wearing a face covering are not required to wear one, although they may consider other forms of protection such as a face shield. The application of the ordinance also cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I may be exempt from wearing a face covering because of concerns for my own health and/or because of a conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Does that mean a business must allow me entry without a face covering?

No. Exemptions in ordinance 20-14 relate to the requirement that residents wear a face covering in public places.  It does not create an obligation on the part of a place of public accommodation (such as a grocery store, restaurant, or other commercial establishment open for the sale of goods or services to the public) to allow entry to an unmasked person if that is inconsistent with safety steps they have put into place as a result of the declared COVID-19 pandemic.  If the inability to wear a mask is due to a disability under the ADA, the place of public accommodation may need to discuss alternatives to providing goods or services (such as shopping for the person with disabilities or other reasonable accommodation), but may not be required to allow entry under the ADA when following CDC guidance during a declared pandemic.

Do I have to bring my face covering when going out to dinner or for drinks at a restaurant or restaurant bar?

Yes, you must wear a face covering when visiting restaurants and restaurant bars, except for when you’re actually dining or consuming a beverage. You must also maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from other parties. You must also not congregate in groups of more than 10 people.

What if I’m dining in the outdoor seating area of an establishment?

You are not required to wear your mask while seated in the outdoor seating area.

Will restaurant and restaurant bar employees be required to wear face coverings?

Yes, every employee preparing or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, must wear a face covering indoors and outdoors.

Can I stand at the bar and get served?

No. Staff may only serve customers who are seated. Serving patrons only when seated will help maintain social distancing and prevent standing groups from congregating without the proper distancing.

What happens if I have a concealed carry permit (CCW)?

The county’s emergency face covering ordinance is compatible with state law. Concealed carry permit holders may wear a face covering consistent with the ordinance and applicable state law while exercising their right to carry a concealed weapon.      

What about schools and government buildings?

Those facilities are exempt. However, governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls and other similar entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public based on their respective needs. It is recommended that you check before going to any of those locations so you are aware of any specific requirements.

I work at an office building, but we’re not open to the public. Is my building considered an “Indoor Public Place”?

No. Buildings or places that members of the public are not invited or permitted are not considered an indoor public place. Building owners or managers may establish their own face covering protocols.