MIAMI – As Florida passes a tough milestone for coronavirus cases, several South Florida mayors are getting tougher with their mask mandate.
On Monday, hours after the state surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19, the mayors of nearly a dozen cities in Miami-Dade County announced that they will be requiring people to wear face coverings in public.
“We are going to be implementing a mask-in-public rule,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “Everyone will have to be wearing a mask in public.”
The cities participating in the mask mandate include:
- North Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Key Biscayne
- Biscayne Park
- West Miami
- Miami Shores
- El Portal
Their directive differs from the countywide order that says people must wear a mask indoors in public places but only outside in situations where you cannot practice social distancing to remain at least 6 feet apart.
The mayors acknowledged that enforcement will be tough — but they said it will be there.
“It is not time to panic, but is time to make sure we take personal responsibility,” said Pinecrest Mayor Joe Corradino.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he will consider with medical professionals Tuesday whether the rules for face coverings need to expand elsewhere in the county as well.
“Wearing masks outdoors in congested cities like Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Hialeah and Miami Gardens is a good idea,” Gimenez said in a statement. “I commend the mayors of those cities for making that a requirement. I will be meeting with the county’s medical experts tomorrow to discuss whether the use of masks in less congested unincorporated areas of the County is necessary.”
Florida reported record-setting totals of new cases on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and South Florida remains the epicenter.
Miami-Dade County, in particular, is responsible for 26,239 of the state’s 100,217 confirmed cases as of Monday.
“This is a real spike. This is a real trajectory,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
While the percentage of fatal cases has lowered as more young people have tested positive for COVID-19, hospitalizations are trending upward in Miami-Dade.
Oliver Gilbert, Miami Gardens’ mayor, said he had come to Monday’s news conference from a funeral.
“It might be lost on people that, while you might not know their names, there is a real consequence to not following rules,” Gilbert said.
Gimenez said he drove around Miami and Miami Beach over the weekend and “found many people outdoors too close together and not wearing masks.”
“Miami-Dade County will continue to crack down on violators to make sure masks and social distancing rules are followed to protect our residents from the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “Miami-Dade County Police will continue to be out in force checking on businesses, parks, beaches and marinas, both in the unincorporated areas and in cities that are not enforcing the County orders.”