Miami Will Issue Fines of Up to $500 for Not Wearing a Mask in Public as Coronavirus Cases Surge
On Friday, the Florida Department of Health recorded 8,942 new coronavirus cases over the course of 24 hours
Miami issued an emergency order on Thursday mandating that people wear masks in public or face a fine up to $500, following a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida.
The mask order took immediate effect around 5 p.m. Thursday and requires anyone in public spaces in the city of Miami to wear face masks, the Miami Herald reports. There are a few exemptions, however, including children under age 2, people with disabilities that prevent the wearing of a face mask and people exercising outdoors with appropriate social distancing.
Those without masks in public will first be issued a verbal warning, while a city worker will provide them with a free mask, the city announced on its website. The next offense carries a $50 fine, while a third offense costs $150. A fourth offense will carry a fine of $500 — and a promise to appear in court.
Beaches in Miami-Dade County will also be closed down for the Fourth of July weekend due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced on Friday.
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"As we continue to see more COVID-19 positive test results among young adults and rising hospitalizations, I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk," he added.
As of June 26, there have been at least 122,960 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida, with 3,366 coronavirus-related deaths, according to state health officials.
Following the surge, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced it will no longer allow on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars amid the ongoing pandemic.
Halsey Beshears, the secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, later clarified on Twitter that the ban is only limited to bar establishments and "nothing changes for restaurants."
Under Florida's previous emergency orders, bars and restaurants were ordered to run at 50 percent of normal capacity, with patrons sitting at tables at least six feet apart.
However, according to Beshears, his department found that too many bars and patrons were breaking the rules when the state lifted its stay-at-home restrictions. “This was more than we could keep up with,” he told Associated Press. “Sadly, 90 percent are getting it right. It’s the other 10% that are ruining it for everybody."
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