Public behavior needs to be enforced in order for Miami surge to stop, officials say

Difficult to get everyone to follow the rules and who can police people all the time?

HIALEAH, Fla. – A viewer sent Local 10 a video of people partying at a crowded outdoor concert, not wearing masks. She was furious at the danger she said she saw. It's the very sort of behavior local leaders blame for the rising spread of COVID-19 infections that's made Miami-Dade County the epicenter of the coronavirus.

Local leaders have been talking this week about the growing number of coronavirus cases and the lack of personal responsibility of residents and people who are refusing to wear masks. And also the lack of adhering to social distancing rules.

All over Miami-Dade County, Local 10 drove around and caught, on camera, people violating mask rules.

A Hialeah restaurant owner began nighttime concerts in his parking lot as a way to beef up his sagging business that has been hurt by inside closures.

"We try to follow the guidelines," he said. "The health inspector was here, the food inspector was here. They didn't find no violation in our establishment at all," he said.

Local 10 showed the owner named Michael the viewer’s video.

“Are you worried that this might be a spreader?” we asked.

The restaurant owner said that he is going to take more precautions and more measures for people attending the nighttime musical events. Starting Thursday at the happy hour will be a mask distribution, but that doesn’t mean everyone will comply.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said that already the state has sent additional personnel to Miami-Dade County to try to avoid a total shutdown of the area.

“We shut down this community for 8 weeks and all that happened is, the moment we opened, everyone went out there aggressively without masks and not being socially distant and started infecting everybody,” Carlos Migoya, the CEO of Jackson Health System, said. “That’s where we are today,” he said.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez wants to see a long-term plan. He wants “actual metrics that is an adaption of the initial opening plan. Obviously, things did not go according to plan,” he said referring to the guidelines for a New Normal put out when Miami-Dade County reopened in June.

The thinking by so many is that the surge in coronavirus cases that are showing up now are the result of activity from the Fourth of July weekend; new heightened county rules just went into effect last week. What city and county leaders will be paying attention to over the next week to 10 days to 2 weeks will be the numbers and the behavior. If the numbers don’t start coming down, they may have to find ways for more enforcement of guidelines or go to another shutdown.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."