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City of Sarasota staff will be giving away up to 50,000 protective face masks over the next week in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Select city staff members have been equipped with both traditional paper masks and cloth masks and are offering them to maskless visitors and residents they encounter as they perform their duties throughout Sarasota. The “Mask Mobile,” a small electric city vehicle outfitted with a white surgical mask across the front grill, can also be found around town to promote mask usage in public.

City leadership has strongly urged the public to wear protective masks when leaving home as part of its weekly extension of a public health emergency declaration. The Florida Department of Health also recently issued a public health advisory recommending that all individuals in Florida wear masks in any setting where social distancing is not possible. The city distributed 10,000 masks to residents in May.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Additionally, a state-run, walk-up COVID-19 testing site is available at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Newtown every day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or until daily testing capacity is reached. Testing is open to everyone, regardless of residency or symptoms, and no appointments are necessary. The Sarasota Department of Health is also holding weekly testing events throughout the county. For more information, call (941) 861-2883.

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