‘We Don’t Want To Be The Bad Guy’: Miami Police On Wearing A Face Mask Or Risk Paying A Fine or Jail Time

Florida News

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The City of Miami is taking steps to make sure people are complying with its mask mandate including no more warnings. Citations are being issued to people who aren’t wearing a mask or facial covering in public.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says there is proof the face mask crackdown is curbing cases and he has a new proposal that face masks be worn indoors by those with multi-generational families.

This, as the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade County increased by 2,723 new cases in the last 24 hours and the County total reached 95,068, according to the Florida Department of Health.

They penalties for failure to wear a facial covering in public within City of Miami limits is:

  • First Offense: $100 fine
  • Second Offense: $100 fine
  • Third Offense: Arrest/Notice to Appear

Miami Police Commander Freddie Cruz told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “We don’t want to be the bad guy, we have to contain COVID-19 and educate the public and so some individuals are going to receive citations if they violate emergency rules. There have been several weeks of warnings how about how important this is and how people can be fined.”

Cruz added, “We don’t want to be a bad person. We are asking everyone please cooperate. It’s the law. It’s like wearing a seat belt. It’s like stopping at a red light. It’s the new normal. Let’s embrace it and contain COVID-19 and stay healthy. We’ve ad several weeks now of warnings and we are even providing face masks that have been given out.”

CBS4 followed a neighborhood enhancement team and within minutes, 3 people were given tickets.

While Flormon Richer said he did not want to discuss his ticket, Mauricio Casanova said he was caught off guard when he walked outside on North Bayshore Drive by Margaret Pace Park and was given a ticket.

David Hinds said receiving a ticket was “hilarious and disturbing.”

“I didn’t think I needed to do this in public away from other people,” he said. “This is so ridiculous and I feel silly wearing a surgical mask outside.”

Police also gave Hinds a mask for free.

Neighborhood activist and condominium president Andres Althabe said, “We have got to do something stop this dangerous virus. Something has to be done to save lives. It is so important because something has to be done to end this. Every way has to be tried, the mask helps. We need to listen to the health care experts. The masks work.”

Miami resident Gaby Gabriel was wearing a red mask that said “Shut your mouth” in Spanish.

“I want to be alive man,” he said. “I want to be alive.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said, “We have written 115 tickets this week with 59 warnings and 41 $50 tickets and 15 $100 tickets. The mask in public is working. We went from a high point of 125 new cases a day. We are now at 20 new cases a day so that is one sixth of the rate of increase which means the curve is flattening.”

He also had a new proposal.

“This is voluntary and not something we can mandate, but they should consider if they have a multi-generational household wearing a mask indoors next to multi-generational relatives and also respect social distancing when they are at home because we have seen that the largest center of spread is in the home,” he said.

Per a citywide emergency order issued last month, facial coverings must be worn in public at all times and until further notice, with limited and specific exceptions as follows:

  • A child under two years of age;
  • An individual who is engaged in outdoor work or exercising with appropriate social distancing in place;
  • An individual who has one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a facial covering;
  • An individual who is obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the facial covering is necessary to perform the service;
  • An individual who works in a profession where use of a facial covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession;
  • An individual who is eating or drinking; and
  • An individual who is hearing-impaired or an individual who is communicating with an individual who is hearing-impaired.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

There is a countywide mask mandate in effect requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times when in public.

Violators can be fined $100 within the County and businesses where violations take place face a $500 civil fine.

Exceptions to the mask rule are the same as listed above.

MIAMI BEACH

Miami-Beach Police and Code Officers will start giving out $50 civil citations starting Thursday, July 23, for anyone not wearing a facial covering while in a public place or space.

“We all need to be serious about flattening the curve and putting this deadly virus behind us,” said Mayor Dan Gelber. “Please do your part and wear a mask.”

BROWARD COUNTY

There is also a mask mandate in Broward County that requires masks be worn in all public spaces including businesses, restaurants, stores, and gyms.

Civil enforcement of a  violation may include fines of $1,000 per day per violation and criminal enforcement of a violation may include fines of up to $500 per days, imprisonment up to 60 days or both.

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