City To Defy County’s Request To Change Mask Order Regarding Wearing While Walking

UPDATE: City To Amend Mask Order In Light Of County’s Clarification

COVID-19 has brought many changes to our daily lives. Some we have accepted with open arms and some we have not.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the cooperation between government entities and the relationships between its individual officers have been tested.

Over the last few days, concerned Gables resident Jack Thompson initiated correspondence with the County copying local officials and media. Thompson is frustrated that Coral Gables has only issued one citation for defying the county mask ordinance and wants to avoid further economic and health implications because of local government looking the other way.

Miami-Dade County was made aware of the City of Coral Gables mask order from July 2nd, where the City describes walking as “strenuous activity,” which makes Coral Gables’ order more lenient than the County’s.

The County reached out to the City and asked for an immediate correction to the City’s order.

When asked if the City has to abide by the request, County Deputy Mayor Jennifer Moon, replied: “They must.  They cannot have a rule that is less stringent than what the County has.  Yesterday, our Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance creating a civil citation with a fine of $100 if a person isn’t wearing a mask as required.”

In an email exchange, Coral Gables City Attorney Miriam Ramos made it clear the City has no intention to change its order: “To be clear, the City’s mask order is consistent with the County’s. As you know, the County’s most recent amended Emergency Order related to masks exempts the use of masks when an individual is engaged in “strenuous physical activity.” The City’s order simply provides some examples of what “strenuous physical activity” might be and one of the examples is “walking for exercise.”  Whether someone is walking for exercise versus walking in a leisurely fashion is certainly up to interpretation, which is ultimately a determination made by the enforcement entity based on the particular facts and circumstances of that encounter.”

The City Attorney claims the issue is up to “interpretation” on the definition of strenuous activity. Generally, the medical community does not consider walking a strenuous activity. Following surgery, most patients are encouraged to stay away from strenuous activity, but are encouraged to walk. This is how WebMd describes a list of strenuous activities “Strenuous activities included swimming laps, aerobics, calisthenics, running, jogging, basketball, cycling on hills, and racquetball.” Walking did not make their list.

Is walking in Coral Gables more strenuous? Arguably not more strenuous than visiting a theme park, and all theme parks currently require that all visitors and staff wear masks at all times within their parks.

The next question will be how the City will enforce the County’s $100 fine for not wearing a mask, passed by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners this week.

Ramos stated, “Given the action taken by the BCC yesterday with regard to civil citations and the corresponding fine amount, the City will be looking at the fine amounts in its orders in order to determine whether an amendment is necessary.”

Thompson has written a letter to the board of County Commissioners about his concerns and has asked to speak before the board at their August meeting.

Local Government insiders tell Gables Insider that unless a serious mask enforcement takes place or hospital numbers starts to decrease, we can expect a full shut-down once again within a week to two weeks time.

PSA: WEAR YOUR MASK!

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10 thoughts on “City To Defy County’s Request To Change Mask Order Regarding Wearing While Walking

  1. I always wear a mask indoors in public. However, when walking briskly for exercise where I know I will be more than 6 feet from others I don’t.

  2. I used to take exercise walks on Ponce where quite frankly there are sometimes 0 other people walking, at best on the two sides of the street on Ponce During the 45 minute walking exercise there might be 5 or 7 other people walking and never run into each other.
    I stoped exercise walking because in this heat it’s impossible to do wearing a mask. I’m also lacking oxygen by wearing it. I feel that social distancing is the most important. If there is no one around while exercise walking keep the mask under chin. If someone is approaching (if ever on Ponce) pull the mask up and maintain social distancing. If I d it that can be accomplished. I also stopped doing any business in coral gables or dade county.

  3. The circumstances also need to be taken into account. People walking for exercise around the golf course or Country Club Prado can easily give each other a wide berth. In such situations, requiring a mask would be silly. It’s different on shopping streets.

  4. In a city whose Mayor and Politicos are more interested in Million Dollar Tin Flower decorations in traffic circles and Multi Colored Pedestrian Crosswalks, Open Trash Pits in front of almost every house, frequently adorned with numerous colored bags of dog poo, it is NOT difficult to conclude why the “leaders” of this community put residents health on the bottom of a priority list!!!

  5. The people running the Coral Gables Government (Valdes-Fauli, Lago, Keon, Fors and Mena) are intelligent and should know that the only way to contain the Coronavirus from spreading in our Coral Gables community is for everyone to wear a mask in public for at least the next 30 to 90 days regardless of activity. The virus will continue to spread by irresponsible people walking in Miracle Mile or Merrick Park without a mask. In the words of Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as Stupid does”. Welcome to our new reality of stupidity. Soon we will have to go into economic Lock-down again, because our Govt officials cannot in-force the wearing of a mask in public areas.

  6. Wear the mask. What is wrong with people which were are supposed to be responsible adults and should know right from wrong. Actions have consequences. If we don’t know this by now, shame on all of us. I see everyday, 90+ % of adults walking in the neighborhood not wearing any masks. Walking is not a strenuous exercise, unless you are “Fast Walking” and that means doing a mile in 15 minutes. When we go out, yes we sweat. Who wouldn’t in 90 degree weather and high humidity.

    I think I am one of the few if maybe the only one that when shopping for food I am also wearing gloves.

    I value my life and that of others. Do your part and be responsible. Save a Life

  7. I also agree with the City’s position. I am 75 years old and a walk around Granada golf course is strenuous for me. Forcing me to wear a mask will prevent me from walking because I can’t get enough air. Further, the social distancing rules are being observed. When I encounter someone, we give each other a wide birth. If this is not sufficient I want to hear an expert tell me so.

  8. So you want our police department judge people on their clothes they use for walking? So if they don’t wear lululemon they are clearly not exercising? How would you like them to determine the amount of sweat? Pathetic. What if we all just wear masks? What a concept. Stop making excuses.

  9. It seems almost arrogant for our City to come up with “splitting hairs reasons” to defy the county order. Doesn’t it make sense for most of us to use masks, and avoid getting more astringent rules if the covid-19 situation does not improve? How can a City that always brags about how enforcing our rules is what keeps up our way of life, dare to defy what could in essence protect our, both individual and business health? Does it mean that our rules about where to place our garbage cans, what color to paint our house, whether or not to have a playhouse in our yard, when to mow our lawns, etc, etc. are more important and shouldn’t be defied, but enforcing this public health order is defiable?

  10. It is very clear whether someone is walking for leisure or walking for exercise. Just look at the clothes and the amount of sweat. I agree with the City’s position.

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