Officials enforcing stay-at-home orders in Miami-Dade during coronavirus outbreak

MIAMI (WSVN) - Many cities across South Florida are urging residents to stay home in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Miami is no different, as it figures out ways to enforce its stay-at-home order and get residents to take the restrictions seriously.

Police are patrolling streets in order to enforce social distancing guidelines.

“It’s like crazy,” Miami resident Michelle Candelaria said. “It’s like a movie. It’s a dream.”

It’s not the same Miami so many love to call home, but for many residents, they know it’s a collective effort to defeat COVID-19.

“It’s definitely strange,” Miami resident Kyle Hiersche said. “It feels like a ghost town. Especially at night here.”

Wednesday is day one of Miami’s stay-at-home order.

Mayor Francis Suarez made the announcement from home, as he himself is fighting the virus.

“Obviously, our objective is going to be education and trying to get people to comply,” Suarez said.

And those new laws are indeed that: laws.

“Our police will be cracking down today. Take this seriously. It’s our community’s health that’s at stake,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

Across Miami-Dade, no groups larger than 10 can convene anywhere.

“Nobody wants to get sick,” said a Miami-Dade Police officer.

Alvaro Zabaleta of the Miami-Dade Police Department said, “We make sure that not only residents but businesses are complying to the executive orders signed by Mayor Gimenez.”

Gimenez said, “We’re taking swift action against all businesses and residents who are not complying with my emergency orders.”

“I’ve been hearing over and over again that we still don’t have 100% compliance,” Gimenez said.

On Wednesday, police made sure and will continue to make sure the law is being followed and that businesses are in compliance.

“It’s only for the health of everybody and of course for the well-being of all of our residents here in Miami-Dade County,” said a Miami-Dade Police officer.

Officer Kelly Denham of the Coral Gables Police Department said, “They’re cooped up, we understand, but they need to police themselves and keep it to family, small groups and keep that six foot distancing.”

Gimenez said, “Keep your distance. Six feet between all people is not a suggestion. It is a rule of law. Everyone must act as if they are infected and carrying the virus. This is especially true for everyone who is feeling great and thinks that they are safe. These healthy carriers are the greatest threat to our communities because they can infect people without even knowing it.”

Stay-at-home orders have already been in effect in Miami Beach, where residents still can’t believe how quiet everything is.

“You don’t see as many people walking around. You don’t see the kids,” Miami Beach resident Yelian Torres said.

Coral Gables, Bay Harbor Islands, Golden Beach, Bal Harbor Village, Surfside, Aventura, Dania Beach and other communities all imposed safer-at-home restrictions.

Local leaders said as long as everyone follows the rules, the sooner some of the restrictions can be lifted.

Mayor Suarez reminded Miami residents that they can still walk their dog and run to a store if necessary, but the city is making sure that people are following orders to stay home.

Miami Dade Police Chief Jorge. R Colina said, “If we enacted a curfew, that would be a little bit more strict, because in a curfew, you’re not allowed to be outside. So with the order as it sits right now, there are many circumstances on why you would be out and about. With a curfew that wouldn’t be the case. With a curfew, unless we made certain if we allocated for restaurants to remain open for example, that would be one element. Outside of that, if it’s a curfew you need to be in your home. If you’re not in your home you’re being challenged by us, asking why are you not at home.”

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