Nassau Ends Mask Mandate, Fernandina’s Remains In Effect

With two jurisdictions on Amelia Island, masks are mandated inside businesses within Fernandina’s city limits, while “strongly encouraged” elsewhere on the island.

Whether masks are mandated by local government when inside a business located on Amelia Island, as of Sept. 24, 2020, depends where you are on this northeast Florida barrier island.

Amelia Island seashore sunrise, Nassau County, FL. September 25, 2020, American Beach. Photo by
Amelia Island Sunrise 9-25-2020 (Nassau County At American Beach)

Further clarification regarding masks (the County vs. City Executive Orders), follows below along with links to the government documents.

Masks Encouraged In County Vs. Mandated In City

As a tourism destination, some travelers to Amelia Island may not realize that two jurisdictions impact this 13-mile-long island — Nassau County and the city of Fernandina Beach. What is abundantly clear here and elsewhere around the nation is the continuing mask debate.

Nassau County Executive Order No. 23

On September 23, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 3-2 to end the mask mandate at businesses in Nassau County, FL (effective at noon Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020). Executive Order No. 23 still “strongly encourages” use of masks indoors at business establishments when unable to socially distance (and will remain in effect for 30 days unless extended). However, the city of Fernandina Beach has a mask mandate.

Historic District Downtown Fernandina Beach, Centre Street.
Historic District — Downtown Fernandina Beach, Centre Street.

*NEWS UPDATE * — At the city’s October 6th meeting, Fernandina Beach commissioners voted unanimously to extend the mask mandate through Friday, November 6, 2020. The city will next vote on extending mask mandate again on Nov. 4, 2020. Mentioned during the mask discussion was the Florida-Georgia game weekend (game day is Nov. 7th). It appears the city’s intent will be to keep the mask mandate in place during for this event weekend (at least). It’s a time when, in normal years, there’s heavy visitation and business activity on Amelia Island.

Businesses within downtown Fernandina Beach around the popular tourism area in the historic district remain under the city’s mask mandate. At the oceanfront, the Main Beach area businesses are within the city limits, the Seaside Park area at Sadler Road, as well.

Businesses in areas outside the city limits elsewhere on Amelia Island include the south end’s resort area — Ritz/Summer Beach/Omni Amelia Island Plantation (plus the Harris Teeter shopping plaza and Palmetto Walk shops) — these businesses are no longer under a County government mask mandate. However, all Nassau County business owners have the right to establish their own mask requirements at their premises.

Florida’s Public Health Advisory Still In Effect

While the state of Florida currently has no travel restrictions in place, Florida’s Department of Health continues with the following public health and travel advisory on its website:

“Residents and visitors are advised to: 1) wear face coverings if social distancing is not possible. 2) Refrain from gatherings of more than 10 people. 3) Avoid crowds, closed spaces and close contact. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others.”

Below are followup comments by Nassau County Emergency Management (via Facebook page 9/24/2020):

“Although the BOCC [Board of County Commissioners] did not renew the county-wide mandatory mask order last night, they all agreed that residents should follow the advice of our County Public Health & Medical Officer as well as that of the Florida Surgeon General and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.”

Further Info & Links:

Follow NASSAU EM’s Facebook page for further news updates and comments on this topic and others. To read more news from Nassau County, FL, see the government website.

Review the full Nassau County Executive Order Number 23, (Emergency Management COVID-19).

Review the full Fernandina Beach EMERGENCY ORDER – COVID-19 Mandatory Masks 2020-143 (dated Oct. 6, 2020).

Review the full Fernandina Beach Emergency Order Resolution 2020-126.

Nassau County, FL COVID-19 Cases

Since the pandemic began, the number of COVID-19 positive cases (through Sept. 25, 2020), in Nassau County, Fl, is:

  • 1,937 Nassau residents cases (and 143 non-residents)
  • 148 hospitalizations, 43 deaths.

(Data provided by the Florida COVID-19 Data & Surveillance Dashboard).

COVID-19 Update, Florida Dept. of Health

To review the most recent statewide Florida Coronavirus information, see a Sept. 23, 2020 news release at the Florida Department of Health website.

Florida Department of Health Covid-19 cases dashboard, September 24, 2020 data.