By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the number of positive coronavirus cases increases in South Florida, the city of Hialeah is doing its part to slow the spread. On Wednesday, city inspectors began going door-to-door to local businesses, making sure they were in compliance with the recent mask mandate.

On Monday, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, along with other leaders in Miami-Dade, issued the emergency order.

According to the city website, it says anyone over the age of 2 has to cover their nose and mouth when out in public.

“If you’re not home, if you’re not on your property or in front of your house, and you’re not in your car, it’s public property,” explained Mayor Hernandez. “If you’re in a park, it’s public property. If you’re in a parking lot, it’s public property.”

Based on information from the Florida Department of Health Dashboard, as of Wednesday afternoon, there were 4,679 positive cases in Hialeah. With 27,779 positive cases in Miami-Dade, that means Hialeah accounts for about 17% of positive cases in the county.

“It’s a very serious situation right now,” said Mayor Hernandez. “It’s not critical yet, but if we don’t take the right steps, we could find ourselves there sooner than we want to.”

Inspectors with the city began the process of stopping by different shopping centers to see if they’re wearing masks, making sanitizer available and keeping social distance.

“That’s our job here— to educate the public and to give them all the information they need in order to comply with emergency orders,” says Dafne Mesa, a city of Hialeah inspector. “Hopefully that will help to lower the amount of cases.”

At a local shopping center, she did an unannounced inspection of the four businesses there.

For one of them, a vape store, the only change the owner needed to make was putting hand sanitizer right by the door for customers to use, which she set up right away.

At a jewelry store, employees had to be given a warning for not having markers on the floor to indicate where customers need to stand to maintain social distancing.

The first step is just a warning. After a week, the inspector will revisit the business to see if the appropriate changes have been made. If the business is still not in compliance, then they face an initial fine of $100.

For the most part, people out and about seemed to be following the mask rule. One shopper said she hopes everyone takes it seriously.

“It’s for our protection. It’s for everyone’s. I feel good about wearing it. I don’t have a problem with that.”

This comes as Florida faces another single-day record of 5,500 new cases.

Karli Barnett

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