Coral Gables mayor makes face coverings mandatory as coronavirus cases surge

Coral Gables mayor, Raul Valdes Fauli, signed an order requiring face coverings and masks to be worn at indoor and outdoor locations where social distancing may be difficult. The order comes as Florida experiences a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, with 146,333 confirmed positive cases as of June 29. Signed on June 24, the order took effect on June 25.

Citing the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines on the benefits of mask-wearing and social-distancing, these guidelines will be enforced by a verbal warning, then a citation of $50, before law enforcement could choose to make an arrest, according to the official mandate from the office of the mayor.

The mayor’s emergency order exempted children under the age of 2, as well as those with chronic pre-existing conditions making it difficult to breathe and persons engaged in strenuous activities such as cycling, jogging or running.

Coral Gables businesses have been partially reopened since mid-May, which includes personal grooming locations, galleries, not-for-profit museums and restaurants, according to the Coral Gables website. This is part of Phase I of the city’s reopening.

City officials plan on waiting until June case reports are official before deciding whether or not to continue on to Phase II. Under Phase II bars and nightclubs will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity while restaurants will be open at 75 percent capacity. People who live, work and visit Coral Gables must adhere to this order.

“Returning to normal will depend on the collaboration of all,” said the city’s website.

At the time of the Phase I reopening, face coverings and social distancing were required, but not enforced with a fine.

University of Miami will be enforcing a face covering policy as well when students return to campus. UM intends to hire 30 students as public health ambassadors to enforce face mask coverings. The health ambassadors will patrol campus from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We need our own students to help reinforce our policies,” said UM’s vice president for student affairs, Patricia Whitley.

Featured image from Flickr, @spurekar.