MIAMI, Fla. – Could you be stopped and get a ticket for not wearing a mask or keeping your social distance in areas where coronavirus mandates are in place? The answer is yes.
Starting Thursday, Miami Dade Police officers can now give out civil citations to those in violation of the Emergency Order passed on July 2. Anyone found to be in violation will be fined $100, businesses will be fined $500. If you don’t have money to pay the fine, MDPD has a diversion program for people to do community service hours.
In Amendment No. 1 to Emergency Order 20-20, passed on July 2, it states: “All persons through out Miami-Dade County shall wear a mask or other facial covering when in public.”
(See the complete Order below: Where a mask must be worn, where it is not required)
Miami-Dade County commissioners met Thursday to discuss a number of issues related to COVID-19 in the county, but chief among them was the decision to make violating COVID-19 rules a civil citation.
Officials said this change will help code enforcement and police to more easily enforce the mandates, including mask wearing and social distancing. As a criminal offense, it has made it a bit unwieldy to arrest people for the infractions.
I applaud @MiamiDadeBCC's unanimous decision to make the violation of our masks order a civil infraction. This allows code enforcement officers to issue citations to those who don't comply with the emergency order in @MiamiDadeCounty, helping police with this task. (1/2)— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) July 16, 2020
Local leaders and medical professionals have been visibly frustrated with violators.
Dr. Tanira Ferreira, a critical care medical specialist with UHealth, addressed the issue during the Zoom meeting Thursday.
“These are very simple measures that we are not seeing in the city. You go out, people are not wearing masks and getting together, and it is a problem because it is just a matter of time until we see more cases and it’s just stressing the health care system.”
They say they are puzzled as to why people are not committing to do what is simple and affordable and scientifically proven to stop the spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control.