Roughly a month after Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez started easing stay-at-home orders put in place to address the coronavirus pandemic, numbers have been steadily on the rise here in South Florida, and the mayor announced late last week that stronger enforcement is needed for open businesses.
Until now, businesses violating capacity, social distancing, and mask requirements would only receive a citation for non-compliance and a warning — sometimes being shut down, but if so, typically allowed to reopen 24 hours later. That isn’t the case anymore: As of this weekend, violating businesses need to sign an affidavit before reopening that says they are following the Miami-Dade New Normal guidelines; if they continue to violate them, they could get a $500 fine or up to 180 days in jail, and could face additional closures.
“Miami-Dade’s education period is over. No more warnings,” said Gimenez in a virtual statement. “From now on, when we see a violation, we close a business immediately. They won’t get a free pass to simply open again the next day.”
Over the weekend, three high-profile restaurants in Miami-Dade were shut down due to violating social distancing rules, including Wynwood’s Astra, Little Havana’s El Secreto, and the Miami Design District’s Swan. City of Miami mayor Francis Suarez, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, also garnered plenty of negative attention over the weekend after pictures of him mask-free at a crowded Swan on June 11 circulated online.
“He was not part of a party,” said Soledad Cedro, the mayor’s communications director, told in a statement to the Miami Herald. “He was there for dinner.”
Miami-Dade County has seen a 10 percent increase in number of hospital admissions of COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, according to the Miami Herald, and Florida is increasingly considered a coronavirus outbreak hot spot with the state hitting the 100,000 reported COVID-19 cases mark today.