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Miami Beach Police issue over 600 face mask warnings 1st day back in parks

Virus Outbreak Florida

On the first day parks and marinas reopened since the coronavirus shutdown, Miami Beach Police issued 652 warnings to people who weren’t wearing face masks, plus police had to remove 145 people from parks after closing time and 23 social distance warnings were issued, city officials said.

Miami Beach spokesman Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said that the number of warnings increased Thursday, with park rangers issuing 899 face-mask violations. A total of 1,551 face-mask violations were issued on the first two days parks  opened back up.

“Though the number is slightly higher than Wednesday, we did have additional rangers on staff,” Rodriguez said. “Those who did not have a face cover simply left unless they cited they were exercising or had respiratory issues.”

The city imposed a new restriction on Wednesday, when parks reopened, that requires facial coverings to be worn by all users of the city’s beachwalks and baywalks, except by “children under the age of 2, persons who have trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition, or persons engaged in strenuous physical activity or exercise.”

City Manager Jimmy Morales said if people refuse to follow the city’s orders, some areas will be closed again.

Miami Beach police Chief Richard Clements presented a report to the city administration Thursday with the violations that park rangers found Wednesday at open spaces across the city, the Miami Herald reported.

The violations include 138 for riding bicycles, e-scooters, skate boards or roller blades on the beachwalk or baywalk prior to 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., when the paths are reserved for pedestrians.

Mayor Dan Gelber said violators of the orders are “endangering other people” and should “treat these orders seriously.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who has called for the city to be reopened more quickly, called the mask rule “silly” and said “If people are maintaining social distance, I don’t see how a mask is going to do much good,” the Herald reported.

Arriola claims the orders will lead to inconsistent enforcement because what may be a leisurely walk for one person may be “strenuous” exercise for another.

“It becomes so arbitrary,” Arriola said.