Miami-Dade mayor defends rolling back reopenings, says people should 'just follow the rules'

Miami-Dade mayor: While hospitals still have capacity, we don’t want to exceed that

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on concerns over spike in coronavirus cases.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined "The Story" Thursday to discuss the area's increase in coronavirus cases and the measures he has taken to combat the spread.

"We are [seeing an] increase in the number of people going to the hospital, even though they're younger. And there's days, you know, the length of stays is less," Gimenez told host Trace Gallagher. "And so the positivity rate is really what we need to start to take down. And so that's why we issued a curfew order last week in order to stop social activity, because I think that's driving a lot [of the increase].

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"We closed the interior dining rooms of restaurants in Miami-Dade today," Gimenez added. "We're taking additional measures … mandatory and additional measures and enforcement measures to see that people comply with the rules because … if they just follow the rules we wouldn't be in this situation."

The mayor issued an emergency order Monday limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery service, with the exception of establishments that offer outdoor dining.

"It's the only industry that I know of that you have to take your mask off inside to do what a restaurant is [there for], eat and drink," Gimenez said. "And we all know now, you know, the science is telling us that the virus is hanging around in the air and interior spaces for hours. And so it's a very risky business."

Gallagher pressed Gimenez on the science that led him to his decision.

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The mayor repeated that a high positive test rate is why officials are concerned that restaurants are helping to spread the virus.

"We already have a positivity rate over 25 percent here in Miami-Dade County," he said. "That means that when you're in a restaurant, the odds are that many people in that restaurant are positive with COVID-19, spreading the germs in an interior space. That's incredibly dangerous."

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