Miami mayor distributes free face masks in Allapattah

MIAMI – A day after announcing the city will be mandating face masks to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez visited Allapattah on Tuesday.

Billionaire Norman Braman donated 50,000 masks to help those in need in Miami, Suarez said.

“We are going to be giving them out to business owners and residents in this zip code because it’s one of the most vulnerable,” Suarez said.

The new order, which Suarez said is in the works, is to wear face masks at all times except when eating at restaurants and while exercising. At least a dozen other cities in Miami-Dade County plan on implementing the same measure.

“That order is about to be finalized,” Suarez said.

Anyone caught in violation of those could be issued a warning — forced to pay a fine or possibly even face misdemeanor charges, Suarez said. It’s an enforcement effort that the mayor acknowledges will be an uphill battle, but it is one he said is worth it.

“It’s hard to break habits ... we have only been going through this for a few months, and even for me, people are trying to hug me, give me their hand, and so it’s difficult,” Suarez said.

RELATED REPORT: June 22, 2020

More than a dozen Miami-Dade cities are expanding the mask mandate that's already in place in the state and county as COVID-19 cases soar.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.