Commissioners with the City of Miami passed an emergency order Thursday that will allow them to impose civil fines on those who repeatedly refuse to wear masks in public.
A draft of the order first stated a fine of up to $250, but commissioners amended that to a fine of up to $500.
The city manager will iron out the details and determine the amount and scale of the penalties, which will first include a warning aimed at educating residents to comply with mask rules.
“I’m very much in favor of this even though it will be controversial and we may get pushback on this, but we must protect our residents,” said Commissioner Ken Russell.
The penalty comes after Mayor Francis Suarez announced on Monday that it is mandatory for people to wear facial coverings in public spaces indoors and outdoors in the City of Miami, unless you’re exercising or doing recreational activities.
Enforcement will be a challenge, but some residents welcome the move, while others think it’s too much.
“I think that will motivate people to wear a mask in public. We come to the park all the time and we would feel better if we saw everybody wearing a mask if they’re not working out. And I think that’s the way to motivate people to do it,” said Julie and Francisco Batistini, who live in Miami.
“I feel like they’re just trying to keep us safe. I mean, it’s the precautions that we gotta have if we want things to open back up. A fine might be a little excessive but they’re just trying to make us safe,” said KJ Osborn of Miami.
Commissioners also expressed ideas to pass out masks to those communities that may need it most.