More than 100 people, mostly not wearing face masks, attended an indoor event held by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday – and the hotel where it took place is now under investigation by Palm Beach County officials.
About 15 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin, the county was notified that many in the audience of about 100-150 people were not wearing facial coverings or masks, Palm Beach County Deputy Director of Public Affairs John Jamason told CNN in a statement.
A mask mandate aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 is in effect in the county until March 19. Facial coverings must be worn by anyone obtaining any goods or services, or otherwise visiting or working in any business or establishment in the county.
During the event, DeSantis spoke about his “Seniors First” vaccine initiative and Covid-19.
“We need to start doing really big events again. We have the seniors protected, or going to be. We gotta start doing it right,” DeSantis told the crowd to cheers of support as he also promised to return to Palm Beach County to sign a proposed election reform bill into law.
CNN has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.
The event was held at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel. Jamason said the event was not coordinated by the county and it is up to businesses to enforce the mask mandate.
“We have spoken to Hilton management and will be following up with them and event organizers in accordance with our normal compliance procedures,” Jamason said.
A Hilton Palm Beach Airport spokesperson said in an email to CNN that, in part, “We have been made aware of video that appears to show a group of individuals within close proximity of one another and not wearing masks. We are disappointed in their apparent failure to comply with our mask regulations which are prominently displayed throughout the hotel. Moving forward, we will continue to do our best to monitor and enforce these guidelines as long as they remain in place.”
The Palm Beach Code Enforcement and Compliance Team is investigating the incident and will determine if the hotel faces fines or penalties, Jamason said.