Miami Beach is now requiring employees and customers at grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants to wear face masks as a precautionary measure during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Employees and customers at other locations are also “strongly encouraged” to wear those coverings.
The new requirement will go into effect on Tuesday, April 7.
The provision states “all employees and customers of grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants shall be required to wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the grocery store, pharmacy or restaurant facility. All individuals providing delivery services shall wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth while making deliveries.”
The city does not require individuals to wear medical-grade masks, which are still in short supply and are being prioritized for members of the medical community.
“Medical and surgical face masks, such as ‘N95’ masks or other similar medical or surgical masks, are in short supply and should be reserved for health care personnel and other first responders with the greatest need for such personal protective equipment,” the order notes.
“Persons are encouraged to review and comply with the CDC and Florida Department of Health guidelines on personal protective equipment, including with respect to the use of a medical or surgical face mask, such as an ‘N95’ mask or other similar medical or surgical mask.”
Instead, the order lays out suggested types of coverings that employees and customers can use.
“A covering over the nose and mouth may include a face mask, homemade mask, or other cloth covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief or other similar cloth covering,” the new provision reads.
The order continues, stating, “employees and customers of all other essential retail and commercial establishments are strongly encouraged to wear a form of covering over the nose and mouth.
Those employees are also “strongly encouraged” to provide employees with other personal protective equipment, including gloves.
The move comes after the federal government has shifted its stance on the mask issue. Early on in the outbreak, federal officials recommended healthy people should now wear masks, arguing they would not help slow the spread of the virus without being properly fitted. Surgeon General Jerome Adams also argued masks encourage people to touch their face to readjust those masks, which can also help spread the virus.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending healthy individuals wear non-medical-grade masks. Miami Beach is going beyond a recommendation and instead making that mandatory in certain establishments.
Miami Beach has instituted some of the most stringent requirements in the state. On Tuesday, the city added an Emergency Order limited essential businesses to 50% capacity. All customers and employees must remain six feet apart as well.
As of a Saturday morning update, Miami Beach had the sixth most confirmed cases of any Florida city, with 341.