MIAMI, Fla. – Miami Neighborhood Resource Officers were out in full force Thursday, the first full day of the in-public mask mandate that now carries with it a $100 fine.
At times, it turned out to be an entry point into anti-mask rhetoric. David Hinds was hit with a fine Thursday, explaining why he wasn’t wearing a mask.
"It's so ridiculous, I don't know if I can participate in this insanity," Hinds said. "I feel silly because there is this non-existent pandemic."
At a news conference in Hialeah, Dr. Alberto Dominguez Bali of Hialeah Hospital was clearly exasperated that there was even a debate about a basic, non-partisan public health tool.
“That is the most important reason why we are increasing the number of infected people,” said Bali. “We shouldn’t be discussing if we use masks or not — to use the mask and to maintain the social distance that has been said thousands of times in this country, and we are still finding people that don’t use masks — who refuse to use masks.
At Margaret Pace Park, where we found Hinds, it wasn't the norm. Most people were wearing face coverings.
"I am not into conspiracy theories," Gaby Gabriel said. He had his own message to share and it was written right on his mask.
“Tapate la boca is basically ‘shut your trap, cover your mouth,’ " he said.
Commander Freddie Cruz of the Miami Police Department compared the enforcing of the in-public mask rule to policing seat-belt violations or drivers running a red light.
"It is the new normal; we have to do it," Cruz said.
On Thursday, Miami Beach started handing out fines, too. For those not wearing a mask in that city, they can get issued a citation for a $50 fine.
And Miami-Dade County’s mask-mandate fine for individuals is $100.