By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he is being restricted by the state to put more mitigation efforts in place against COVID-19.

“I had implemented a mask-in-public order back when we were allowed to do that during the summer, and that drove down cases by 90%. Now, we’re not allowed to implement a mask-in-public order,” he said.

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He said he has asked Gov. Ron DeSantis for the mayors to have more authority, but that’s been met with no response.

“I’ve tried to reach him on multiple occasions to tell him to give us the opportunity, not just here at the city, but in the county, to be able to institute things that we think are common sense, that we think are backed up by science and we can demonstrate are backed up by science,” he said.

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South Florida, particularly Miami-Dade, remains a red zone, according to the White House. When asked about bars, nightclubs and gyms remaining open, Mayor Suarez said, again, that is up to the governor.

“Unfortunately, that’s not in our purview. That’s something that the governor has decided,” he said. “And certainly we’re blessed that our residents, I think, are also heeding the warnings and are using masks, despite the fact that there are significantly greater concentrations of people at those establishments.”

But the mayor added the county is better than where it was about six months ago.

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“The good news is that, as opposed to the summer where we had 2,300 COVID patients countywide, which was a tremendous strain on our hospital system, now we have less than a thousand patients,” he said. “So, you know, even though we are obviously battling with a new strain, that is not thankfully at this point materializing into more hospitalizations.”

Karli Barnett