MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – With restrictions eased, people are once again out and about.
But the coronavirus is still out there and we’ve seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“We were hoping this would be self policed. We didn’t want to close places down but if we have to, we are going to do that,” said Gelber.
City and county leaders say two weeks after an increase, they’re starting to see the same for hospitalizations.
Gelber believes he has zeroed in on the likely source of the issue.
“It does seem to be from younger people and indoor locations,” he said.
Leaders throughout Miami-Dade are cracking down on stores, restaurants, and their customers who are not following guidelines.
“This is tough love time with respect to our public health,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
The mayor said close to four thousand businesses have been cited since reopening. Some were told to close but reopened the next day.
“People are getting way too comfortable about not wearing masks when they go to stores or restaurants. Also, not following social distancing rules even when they’re outside,” said Gimenez.
The county mayor’s office is planning to enforce stricter penalties.
“No more warnings. From now on, when we see a violation we close a business immediately,” said Gimenez.
If a business is told to shutdown, the owner must submit a plan to the county, for approval, to reopen.
“If you have clients who are bullying your staff about wearing masks, it’s time to refuse to serve those people. Call the police if you have any problems,” said Gimenez.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez recommends people wear masks once they leave home.
The mayor, who previously said the city is not ready for a new phase for reopening, reiterated Thursday he’s concerned.
“The hospitalization rates are so far healthy. They’re sort of our firewall. But if those start to weaken and for our hospitalization numbers to start going up, then everything has to be on the table,” he said.
While numbers increase, leaders are seeing a younger age group greatly impacted.
The message from Gelber – don’t be selfish.
“The more virus you put in the community is going to hurt someone you know who is older,” he said.