Face Masks Are Required as COVID Cases Spike
In a way it was inevitable. Once restrictions were relaxed, COVID cases in the Gables would surely go up. And go up they did. In the last full week of June, ending on the 27th, the city saw a record 72 new cases. The previous weekly high had been back in April, with 34 cases in the week ending April 4, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Granted, the numbers in the Gables paled in comparison to state-wide jumps, which broke records daily during the final full week of June, climbing from 2,761 cases on Monday the 21st to 9,636 new cases on Saturday the 26th.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday, June 24, Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli issued an emergency order requiring face masks to be worn by all Gables citizens over the age of 2 in any public setting – indoor or out – where social distancing was difficult to maintain. That basically meant on all urban streets where you were likely to come into close contact with other pedestrians. The penalty for not wearing masks: first, a verbal warning and after, a $50 fine.
“It’s a pity we had to issue the face mask mandate,” said Mayor Valdés-Fauli. “But I think we have to wear masks now that we are open. We have to be prudent. The number of new cases is alarming.” The idea, said the mayor, was to avoid reversing the opening of the local economy. According to medical experts, the number of new cases would drop by more than half if everyone wore masks in public. “There are those people who say it’s your constitutional right not to wear a mask, but it is also stupid not to wear mask,” said the mayor.