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Miami Face Covering Regulations: Policy Review


The article this paper examines comes from the NBC Miami website and is titled “Miami Issues Citywide Mandatory Mask Policy, Makes Fines Stricter for Those Caught Without One.” NBS Miami is a news and entertainment outlet covering events of the South Florida region. The article under review covers the most recent regulations on mask-wearing in the region. Flamini (2020) emphasizes the current escalating epidemic situation in South Florida as COVID-19 cases are increasing. As a result, the author reports on the newly established policy change that makes the responsibility for not adhering to face covering regulations stricter (Flamini, 2020). According to Flamini (2020), the current alarming epidemiologic situation in Miami is perpetuated by the fact that people hesitate to wear a mask properly or abolish the practice as a whole in a sign of protest.

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However, despite public disagreement the new policy provokes, the measure is highlighted as necessary to locate the virus, minimize the risks for the citizens, and mitigate the problem. As a response to the growing COVID-19 statistic, the county officials have issued a policy update that implements higher fines for not wearing a mask. Flamini (2020) cites a Miami-Dade county’s official documents that state that no warning will be issued in case of the offense. Instead, a noncriminal civil infraction in the form of a fine of 100$ will be imposed immediately. For repeated violations, the penalty will grow to 150$ and 500$ accordingly (Miami-Dade County, 2020). The article concludes that these measures are necessary for mitigating the COVID-19 growth rates in the epicenter of the outbreak, Miami.

Individual Impact of the Policy

The policy described in the news affects me directly as a citizen of Miami-Dade County. As the reporter stressed in her writing, the region’s epidemiologic situation is severe, with Miami being one of the most populated areas of Florida, which puts the residents at risk. Furthermore, the pressure on Miami beach reopening and the general population’s disregard for the established rules perpetuate the public health issue. The policy allows police to monitor and punish those who do not adhere to the regulations of mask-wearing, which might increase the region’s safety and diminish the spread of the virus (Miami-Dade County, 2020). Thus, the policy under review imposes public safety responsibility onto individuals, which I find a positive change.

The Neutrality of the Article

The article appears to be objective and neutral when describing mandatory face coverings during a COVID-19 pandemic in Miami. Flamini (2020) does not include personal opinion or any emotional language, which serves as an indicator of lack of bias. Furthermore, the author grounds the news narrative on official statements and evidence, such as the virus statistics from a credible source like the Centers for Disease Control. However, it is also essential to note that the author includes information that suits the article’s agenda without any opposing opinion. On the other hand, the report’s purpose is to provide information on Miami’s officials’ decision rather than to cover the attitudes towards the topic.

Policy Change

If I had the chance to influence the given policy in the future, I would enhance it by several additions. First, one of the aspects of the regulation that the article does not cover is the extensive list of cases when people are allowed not to wear a mask. Those instances include areas of medical care like the dentist’s office, people who cannot wear a covering due to a medical condition, and children under the age of 4 (Yezli & Khan, 2020). Some of the locations that the policy marks as not obligatory for mask-wearing are religious institutions (Miami-Dade County, 2020). Churches, mosques, synagogues, and other faith establishments are essential for a time of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Yezli & Khan, 2020). These facilities can provide comfort to communities where faith is central and decrease mental tension that has been a direct consequence of the crisis.

However, while churches are essential, it is also necessary to address the risks that these social gatherings bear for public safety. Many religious rituals and traditions require believers to attend institutions regularly, such as Muslim prayer five times per day, or remain in the place of worship for extended periods (Yezli & Khan, 2020). The prolonged and close contact of individuals creates a dangerous situation where social distancing rules might be violated. Evidently, places of worship have been one of the sources of infection spread throughout the pandemic (Yezli & Khan, 2020). Therefore, I would include religious institutions in the list of locations that oblige visitors to wear masks.

The second addition I would implement is educational efforts to mitigate the number of offenses and spread awareness of the issue. I believe that punishment for not wearing a mask in public spaces should be strict since not adhering to this rule puts other people at risk. However, I also think there is a lack of educational efforts that results in misconduct. Consequently, the updated regulation would include mandatory training on the epidemiological situation and ways to protect communities as punishment for the first offense. That way, people will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge on the problem further and address their dangerous misconceptions.

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Flamini, D. (2020). Miami issues citywide mandatory mask policy, makes fines stricter for those caught without one. NBC South Florida. Web.

Miami-Dade County. (2020). Amendment no. 1 to Miami-Dade County emergency order. Web.

Yezli, S., & Khan, A. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic: It is time to temporarily close places of worship and to suspend religious gatherings. Journal of Travel Medicine, 17(1), 65-71. Web.

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