July 13, 2020

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Not wearing a mask can cost you $50 in South Beach under new COVID crackdown

Jun 30, 2020 |

Amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Miami-Dade County, the mayor of Miami Beach announced Monday the city would begin issuing fines to those who ignore rules requiring the use of facial coverings indoors and outside if social distance cannot be observed.

The city’s new crackdown does not go as far as its neighbors across the bay in the city of Miami, which requires the use of masks at all times in public except for when exercising, eating or working outdoors or by very young or medically vulnerable groups.

You can still walk your dog along the street, for example, but you’ll need your mask on if you chat with a neighbor along the way.

Violating Miami Beach’s rule may earn you a verbal warning, and subsequent violations will lead to a $50 fine. That’s less than the announced fines in Miami, which start at $50 but can increase to $500 for a third offense.

The order remains in effect through Wednesday unless the City Commission votes to extend the manager’s emergency powers beyond July 1.

Mayor Dan Gelber said noncompliance with current mask rules, coupled with a troubling increase in the spread of the coronavirus, made further restrictions necessary.

“We don’t have too many tools left in our tool kit, and we don’t want to be forced to return to a shelter-in-place order that proved so economically devastating,” he said in a statement.

The city’s COVID-19 advisory panel, comprised of health experts in Florida and beyond, agreed that pushing for more mask use was one way the city could contain the spread of the virus outside of another lockdown.

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