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Miami dedicates special police unit to enforcing harsh mandatory face mask order

Screengrab CBS Miami, Mayor Francis Suarez

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South Florida remains the hardest hit portion of the Sunshine State in regard to the Chinese virus COVID-19, and in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases, Miami is reportedly dedicating more than three dozen police officers to enforce a mandatory mask order.

On Tuesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city is cracking down on wearing masks, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

“A team of 39 police officers will be dedicated solely to enforcing mask violations. Miami officers will fine people $50 for not wearing their masks the first time, $100 for the second offense and $500 for the third violation. Any additional offense could lead to being arrested,” the newspaper reported.

On July 1, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced a mandatory mask order, in what he would later characterize as “the New Normal rules.”

“After consulting with the CEOs of South Florida hospitals and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew this afternoon, I have decided to issue an emergency order requiring masks in all public spaces inside and outdoors throughout Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said.

On Thursday, the City of Miami followed suit, issuing an emergency order making face masks mandatory at all times while in public, with Suarez saying there will be no more warnings for first-time offenders.

As noted by the Miami Herald, there are a litany of exceptions:

▪ Children under 2 years of age

▪ People with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent wearing of a face mask

▪ Someone obtaining service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary (such as grooming at a salon)

▪ Someone doing outdoor work or exercise with appropriate social distancing

▪ Someone who is eating or drinking

▪ Someone who is hearing-impaired or an individual who is communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired

 

Both Gimenez and Suarez are Republican mayors.

City Manager Art Noriega told the Herald he intends to launch a citywide educational campaign to advise residents of the new rule and distribute masks.

The city manager was unapologetic for the city’s heavy-handed approach.

“The only way to ensure compliance in some way shape or form is you have to have a heavy hand,” Noriega said.

Democrats in the state have been attacking Gov. Ron DeSantis for not issuing a statewide mandate to wear face masks. The Republican governor has hesitated in doing so, opting to leave the decision up to local counties and municipalities.

DeSantis has encouraged residents to wear a face mask, especially when shopping for groceries.

“The grocery stores are packed and when you have close contact that’s when this virus is most likely to be transmitted,” he said at a recent press briefing. “So having the masks I think could absolutely cut down on the transmissibility of this, I think that’s a very important precaution.”

Florida has had 370,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of late Tuesday, with 5,200 deaths.

With an eye on November, the media has been hitting DeSantis for all they’re worth — this being the same cabal holding up New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as presidential timber, even though his state (which has 2 million fewer residents) has seen 27,000 more deaths.

Tom Tillison

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