Miami says it's going to enforce what are now steeper fines for those not wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday, warnings are now a thing of the past and those caught without wearing a mask will be fined $100 for the first offense, up from the initial $50 fine when masks became mandatory several weeks ago.
Other cities, including Miami Beach, are among those that will also issue fines.
“When I found out on Friday we hadn’t issues one citation in weeks, it really upset me because it’s betraying those who are doing the right thing and setting a bad example for those who have not,” said Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell.
Mayor Francis Suarez held a news conference Thursday, where he also announced the city was accepting $1.3 million for help in rental assistance during the pandemic.
Russell said the city had been focusing on public education and not issuing fines. Now, Miami Police will have a dedicated force of nearly 40 officers focused on mask enforcement.
“You really don’t want to do what residents feel is oppressive or heavy handed or against their rights,” Russell said.
Suarez said the possibility of a second shut down of businesses is possible, but nothing will be decided until a second meeting takes place Friday with leaders from the community.