MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After a spike in COVID-19 cases, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez officially starts a countywide crackdown.
“Right now we are going to take a pause on any more openings and really focus in on enforcement,” the mayor said during a Friday news conference.
Watch what Mayor Gimenez had to say during Friday’s conference:
If you’re shopping or eating and drinking at a restaurant in Miami-Dade this weekend, you may want to make sure you’re not breaking guidelines. Mayor Gimenez plans to sign a new order Friday night toughening the penalties against shops and restaurants not following New Normal rules.
“It’ll require violators to file an affidavit with the county indicating they have reviewed and understand the New Normal guidelines and come into compliance so they can reopen,” he said.
The mayor admitted there’s an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. But he believes the medical community is not overwhelmed.
“We have plenty of hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators available through the county,” Mayor Gimenez said.
Miami-Dade doctors, who were also in that news conference Friday, are seeing a slight drop in the length of hospital stays. They credit medicine and experience for helping more people recover faster and saving more lives.
The county is seeing a growing younger population becoming infected.
“We are seeing a higher percentage of younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are testing positive for the virus. Even though they may not have any symptoms, they are contagious and could be putting their parents and grandparents at greater risk,” Mayor Gimenez said.
There’s no data to currently trace exactly where the problems are coming from yet. The county is still working to get contact tracers from the state to help provide key information. But county leaders believe crowded restaurants may be a factor and Mayor Gimenez also says some cases may be protestors. He says police can’t enforce social distancing and facial coverings because that may create more clashes. He and the police director Plan to make sure officers talk to organizers to help them spread the word about social distancing and wearing masks.
The mayor is also encouraging people to continue to wash their hands.
For those who are older and with health problems, the mayor says they should stay home.
“We have never lifted the county Safer-At-Home Order. If you don’t need to be out, especially if you have a health condition or if you’re over 60, that puts you at severe risk for COVID-19, stay home,” he said.
Monday, leaders from several cities are expected to announce an enforcement plan at shops and restaurants. Keep in mind, Miami Dade police can still report to business in a city.