Tougher coronavirus orders: Fines for not wearing masks and arrests for businesses that break rules

Miami Beach can fine you $50 for not wearing a mask; Miami businesses threatened with stronger sanctions

Business owners in Miami could face long closures and even arrests for repeat violations of COVID-19 orders.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – In Miami Beach, the mask is now mandatory.

Effective Tuesday, everyone in a public place within the city — indoors or out — must wear a face covering if they’re not able to socially distance from others.

Violators are subject to a $50 civil fine.

“Our rule is simple, you must be wearing a mask in our city,” Mayor Dan Gelber said. “On the street, waiting outside a restaurant, in your condo lobby or at the park — wear it. It’s not a political statement, it’s just trying to do your part to keep loved ones and neighbors healthy.”

Behavior like what was seen over the weekend isn’t helping. According to Miami Beach officials, video posted to the Only in Dade Instagram page shows women twerking on one of the city’s police cruisers as a crowd gathers with no masks.

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Tourist gone wild #ONLYinDADE | @neef_buck

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“We’ve got to curtail the socializing, which seems to be the reason why so many young people are spreading the virus right now,” Gelber said. “We will provide for a warning [for people not wearing masks]. We’ll also provide for a monetary fine with the notion being we are trying to take an enforcement mechanism that actually will work with our police.”

In Miami, Mayor Francis Suarez announced tougher new penalties Monday for businesses that don’t comply with emergency orders — including potential arrests.

“For 10 days they’ll be closed for the first instance, 15 days for the second instance, and 30 days for the third instance,” Suarez said.

Suarez said business owners are also subject to arrest after a third violation.

The crackdown after yet another record-setting weekend for coronavirus in the county, including more than 2,000 new cases Sunday.

Monday’s numbers show a smaller increase of around 1,500 new cases in the county, with Miami-Dade now topping 35,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak.

Miami-Dade beaches are already set to close from July 3-7 as officials focus work to discourage crowds and slow the spread.

“Everybody has to do this,” Gelber said. “It’s just important. It’s common sense. It’s what’s going to keep us all safe.”

Another possibility discussed Monday in Miami Beach was a curfew, perhaps in the entertainment districts. Right now they’re not taking that action, but starting tonight, businesses with a license to sell alcohol have to stop on-premises consumption of alcohol between midnight and 6 a.m.

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.