Order Requiring Masks on Essential Employees, Customers Takes Effect in Miami Beach

Miami Beach’s mandate to cover the mouth and nose is the first in the state of Florida

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The city of Miami Beach will start to have a new look as a new mandate took effect requiring specific employees and customers to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The new executive order, which went into effect at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, requires all employees and customers at specific essential businesses – including grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants among other locations – to wear some sort of covering while inside each location.

Miami Beach’s mandate to cover the mouth and nose is the first in the state of Florida and is done in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus in the city.

“What we’ve now learned is that the COVID-19 spreads when you don’t even know you have it, and so this is actually to protect everybody else,” Mayor Dan Gelber told NBC 6. “Of course, if everybody does it, which is what our order directs, then everybody is protected even more.”

City officials say acceptable coverings can include scarfs, bandanas and handkerchiefs, however they are asking people not to use high grade medical masks such as the N95 masks that have been in short supply for medical personnel and first responders in South Florida and across the country.

The city was one of the first to place a ‘safer at home’ order in place when the pandemic started last month.

“You shouldn’t neglect to do social distancing. You should still stay at home, but this is an added element when you are doing something that is an essential part of your life,” Gelber said.

Miami Beach says it is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that 25 percent of people who have the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may be infected and not know they are transmitting the virus.

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