PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The Pinellas County Health Department says the COVID-19 positivity rate is up to 14% right now!
As cases rise, local businesses are having to make a decision about whether or not to require customers to wear masks again.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: How Are Global Shortages Affecting Local Customers?
At Wilson’s Book World, a sign saying face covering required on premises, has been up since the beginning of the pandemic but the owner, Michelle Jenquin, says over the last few months. She has let her customers decide what they want to do, but now as COVID-19 cases are rising again, she says her rules might change.
“We just did what we needed to do to sustain. We were doing phone orders and pick-up orders,” said Jenquin.
Just like any other local business, the last year for Wilson’s Book World has been difficult.
“It’s a hard place for a business owner to be in right now,” said Jenquin.
Over the last few months, local businesses have been doing much better as COVID-19 cases started to go down, but now that sigh of relief is gone.
Spokesperson for the Pinellas County Health Department, Thomas Iovino says “Around March, April, May, we were looking at about two or 3%. Now we are looking at about 14% positivity. I think what has happened is people didn’t get vaccinated.”
“We have gloves and hand sanitizer for any customer who wishes to use them. We do have masks available for those who wish to use them as well,” said Jenquin.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
Now the mask controversy is back, after the CDC made an announcement on Tuesday, recommending that people both unvaccinated and vaccinated wear masks indoors again.
“What I say is they are appreciated but they are not required. It is up to the individual who walks inside my store,” said Jenquin.
But Jenquin still has a mask-required sign up outside in hopes that people will take precautions.
“My grandmother is 92 years old. She is in a facility. She cannot have the vaccine due to health side effects, I cannot go see her if I’m not sure I am protected,” said Jenquin.
As cases continue to rise with the Detla variant in Florida, she’s debating whether or not she should require masks again.
“I haven’t come to a decision of what we are going to do. It’s just so hard because I’m afraid if I say you must, then you’re going to offend a group of people, and if you say you don’t have to, then you offend the other group of people,” said Jenquin.
Jenquin says she will continue monitoring those COVID-19 numbers over the next few months.MORE NEWS: Joe And Son's Olive Oils Celebrate 10 Years In South Tampa
Officials at the Pinellas County Health Department say the longer people wait to get vaccinated, the higher those COVID-19 cases are going to increase in the area.