MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New penalties are in place for people breaking Miami-Dade County’s COVID-related rules.
On Thursday, county commissioners instituted new fines, adding onto the enforcement already being done by police officers.READ MORE: Coral Springs Police: 3 Separate Crime Scenes Tied To One Suspect
Miami-Dade officers are continuing their daily crackdown. They’ve ordered 21 businesses to close for breaking county orders since the pandemic started. No businesses were cited Thursday.
“It’s really, really good that police are coming right now,” an employee said.
Officers stop by 500 shops and restaurants a day. They’ve gotten a lot of steps in. So far, they’ve counted thousands of visits since March.
“We are not doing it to hurt our business. We are not doing it to financially impact our business. What we are doing it for is the safety and maintain the health of our residents,”Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said.
Thursday afternoon, Miami-Dade commissioners approved a new enforcement plan. For not following a county order, an owner may face up to a $500 fine. For everyone else, they may be forced to cough up $100 or do community service for breaking rules, like not wearing a mask.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is so worried, he’s considering another stay-at-home order.
“There’s very little, if any, federal and state guidance on how and what metric we need to use to close so we are developing all of that on our own,” Mayor Francis said. “We could potentially be doing that soon if things do not dramatically improve. That’s what we are looking at right now.” Suarez
Miami ranks the highest city in the state for cases and the city’s mayor fears more people will die if more restrictions are not in place.READ MORE: Brightline Celebrates 3 Years Of Service As It Nears Orlando Extension Completion
“I don’t want to sugarcoat it or I don’t want to downplay it in anyway. Our hospitalizations are at the highest level, our ICU’s are double what they were back then,” he said.
When it comes to the entire county, emergency management says more than 2,060 people are in the hospital. It’s up 50 from Wednesday.
The virus has claimed the lives of about 1,200 people in Miami-Dade.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez spoke about the deaths during a commission meeting.
“When people start thinking that we are the next New York, no we are not the next New York. We are not even close to being the next New York,” Mayor Gimenez said.
Thursday’s positivity rate is down to about 25%. Wednesday, state emergency management leaders say it was close to 29%.
The mayor says it’s up to us to slow the spread.
“I’m not going to be open saying ‘it’s time to panic’. It’s not. We just need to hunker down and do what we have to do,” he said.MORE NEWS: Ronald Acuña's 1st Game In Miami Since Knee Injury, Leads Braves Past Marlins 5-3
Mayor Suarez says healthcare workers and first responders are two professions with the most risk of exposure. Wednesday, we were told close to 95 Miami-Dade officers were not working because they were positive.