Coronavirus | Featured Stories

Miami-Dade, Broward Order Face Coverings in Public; PBC Residents Sue County Over Mask Mandate

Amaya Pascual
(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in South Florida, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties on Wednesday issued emergency orders requiring that people wear face masks when out in public.

In a statement, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the two counties agreed to a “blanket facial coverings” order, to try and avoid overwhelming smaller hospitals.

“I want to once again reiterate that if everyone follows the New Normal rules of social distancing of at least six feet, wear facial coverings (which can be homemade) and stay safer at home unless they need to go to work or to a store, we can get back to opening up our economy,” Gimenez said in a statement.

Broward’s emergency order also requires that businesses remain closed between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. However, take out, delivery and drive-thru service are still permitted.

Miami-Dade issued a similar order late Tuesday night, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

In addition, establishments in Miami-Dade that seat more than eight people must stay closed from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. nightly until further notice.

“Please, follow the rules. Do it for your family, your friends, your community – if not for yourself. This pandemic has no borders and no age limits. It is attacking younger people who are ending up in the hospital,” Gimenez added.

Meanwhile, four Palm Beach County residents are taking their officials to court over a mask mandate.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Palm Beach County court, is seeking injunctive relief to overturn the county’s order.

Attorneys representing Josie Machovec, Carl Holme, Rachel Eade and Robert Spreitzer claim that the order requiring everyone to wear a mask in public places “interferes with [their] personal liberty and constitutional rights,” including “freedom of speech, right to privacy, in addition to the constitutionally protected right to enjoy and defend life and liberty.”

Last week, Palm Beach County commissioners unanimously approved the mask mandate to help stop the spread of COVID-19, to the disappointment of some residents. Palm Beach County has a total of 14,447 cases as of Wednesday.

Lawyers for the county have 10 days to respond to the filing.