The city of Miami has assigned 39 of its police officers exclusively to COVID-19 mask enforcement, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported — and fines for violations can cost as much as $500.
Miami officers will fine mask violators $50 for first offenses, $100 for second offenses, and $500 for third offenses, the paper said, adding that additional offenses could lead to arrests.
A citywide emergency order was issued last month calling for mandatory facial coverings at all times in public until further notice, WFOR-TV reported, adding that the following limited and specific exceptions are:
- A child under 2 years of age;
- An individual engaged in outdoor work or exercising with appropriate social distancing in place;
- An individual with one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a facial covering;
- An individual obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the facial covering is necessary to perform the service;
- An individual in a profession where use of a facial covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession;
- An individual eating or drinking; and
- An individual who is hearing-impaired or communicating with an individual who is hearing-impaired.
Miami Beach Police and Code officers will begin issuing $50 civil citations starting Thursday for those not wearing facial coverings while in public places or spaces, WFOR noted.
"We all need to be serious about flattening the curve and putting this deadly virus behind us," Mayor Dan Gelber told the station. "Please do your part and wear a mask."
Miami-Dade County sent over 60 code inspectors and 100 police officers last week to ticket people for not wearing masks, among other violations, the Sun-Sentinel added, which resulted in 35 fines by Friday morning.
WFOR said there's a countywide mandate in effect requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times when in public.
In addition, the city of Miami is looking into banning private parties of more than 10 people, the paper reported, citing Mayor Francis Suarez.
More from the Sun-Sentinel:
Miami police's enforcement team also plans to scour social media channels to track down parties that need to be broken up.
The city's efforts come just days after Miami-Dade commissioners passed an ordinance giving all of the county's code and fire inspectors the power to issue tickets of up to $100 for individuals and $500 for businesses, bringing an increase to the number of officials — in addition to police — who can enforce the rules. Too many people have been ignoring the rules, so it's now up to local government to enforce them.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez: 'Wear That Mask Or Face Fines' youtu.be