The city of Jacksonville, Florida, where mask-averse President Donald Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August, ordered the wearing of face coverings Monday, joining the list of state and local governments reversing course to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Less than a week after Mayor Lenny Curry said there would be no mask requirement, city officials announced that coverings must be worn in “situations where individuals cannot socially distance.”
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany responded by saying the president's advice is to “do whatever your local jurisdiction requests of you.”
Trump has refused to wear a mask during visits to states and businesses that require them.
In recent weeks, the Republicans moved some of the convention pageantry to Jacksonville after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina objected to the holding of a large gathering in Charlotte without social-distancing measures. The convention will be in late August.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has opposed a statewide mask requirement but said in response to Jacksonville's action that he will support local authorities who are doing what they think is appropriate.
In other developments:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has become the highest-ranking Republican in Congress to encourage Americans to wear a facial mask as COVID-19 cases surge in states nationwide. The GOP leader joined those trying to set an example for a wary population that's deeply divided over masks, which experts say is a simple and effective way to help protect the spread of the virus.
- Billions of dollars offered by Congress as a lifeline to small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic are about to be left on the table when a key government program stops accepting applications for loans. Business owners and advocacy groups complain that the money in the Paycheck Protection Program was not fully put to work because the program created obstacles that stopped countless small businesses from applying.
- Health departments around the U.S. that are using contact tracers to contain coronavirus outbreaks are scrambling to bolster their ranks amid a surge of cases and resistance to cooperation from those infected or exposed.
- The head of the World Health Organization on Monday dismissed complaints from countries complaining that contact tracing is too difficult to implement as a control strategy for the coronavirus pandemic as “lame.”
- For a story that has dominated the news during the past four months, a survey out Monday illustrates the difficulty that many Americans have in finding information they can believe about the coronavirus pandemic.
- The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries.
- Fellow musicians and fans alike are criticizing country artists who performed at outdoor concerts this weekend where social media pictures showed large, tight crowds without masks, even as COVID-19 cases resurge in the United States.
- The shutdown on Broadway has been extended again — until at least early January. Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through Jan. 3.