Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) announced Monday that police will issue $250 fines to individuals without a face covering after they receive their first warning.
“Lives are at stake so I’m taking this step to drive these numbers down,” Turner said of the move.
The development comes as Houston registered its fifth consecutive day of 1,000-plus additional coronavirus cases amid sinking hospitalizations and a drop positivity rate to 17.6 percent. Houston has 50,000 virus cases and 472 fatalities.
In July, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez ordered police to issue citations to non-mask wearers: a $100 for a first and second offense, then an arrest or notice to appear for a third offense.
“We don’t want to be the bad guy, we have to contain COVID-19 and educate the public and so some individuals are going to receive citations if they violate emergency rules,” Miami Police Commander Freddie Cruz recently told CBS4. “There have been several weeks of warnings about how important this is and how people can be fined.”
Cruz continued: “We don’t want to be a bad person. We are asking everyone please cooperate. It’s the law. It’s like wearing a seat belt. It’s like stopping at a red light. It’s the new normal. Let’s embrace it and contain COVID-19 and stay healthy. We’ve ad several weeks now of warnings and we are even providing face masks that have been given out.”
In Broward County, face coverings are required in all public spaces such as businesses, retail stores, and restaurants. Violators could see fines of $1,000 per day and criminal enforcement of a violation could amount to up to 60 days in jail.
Florida registered Monday its lowest single-day increase in virus cases since June, reporting 4,752 additional cases. To date, the Sunshine state has 491,884 total cases and a mortality rate of 1.47 percent.