The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners amended Monroe County Ordinance 014-2020 to add stricter penalties for non-compliance of wearing facial coverings, a mandatory three day closures for cleaning and disinfection of business establishments with an employee who test positive for COVID-19, and the ability for county or municipal code compliance officers to issue a notice to appear or civil citation upon observation of a violation along with local law enforcement.
Monroe County requires all persons over the age of six to wear a facial covering whenever away from their home and unable to engage in social distancing. Every person over the age of six who is away from his or her residence shall carry a face covering capable of immediate use.
The ordinance requires operators and employees of business establishments ensure customers comply within the establishment. A face covering MUST cover the nose and mouth and may include a face mask, homemade mask, or other cloth, silk, or linen covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering. There is an exception for those seated at a restaurant, and for gym and barbershop patrons. Exceptions can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19.
The mandatory facial covering directive applies throughout Monroe County and the municipalities, but the municipalities may impose additional restrictions. Key West does have a stricter facial covering requirement for those to wear a facial covering regardless of social distancing while outside the home.
A law enforcement officer may arrest or issue a notice to appear for any knowing and intentional violations committed in his or her presence or through an arrest warrant. Violations shall be prosecuted by the State Attorney of the 16th Judicial Circuit. A person found in violation may be punished by up to 60 days in the County jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
The amendment allows a county or municipal code compliance officer, as well as a law enforcement officer, upon observation of a violation by a person who does not immediately put on a face covering after receiving a warning, to issue a notice to appear or civil citation to appear in County Court. Any person or business establishment prosecuted under this subsection and found in violation of this ordinance may be punished by a fine of up to $500. Code officers can also issue an administrative notice of violation with fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a repeat offense. Each day a violation of this ordinance occurs is considered a separate offense.
In addition to the facial covering amendments, each operator of a business establishment must close to the public that establishment for at least 3 days if the operator or an employee of the establishment tests positive for COVID19. Before reopening, the operator must disinfect the premises of the business establishment according to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health. Any operator or employee exposed to the positive employee must quarantine and/or isolate for 14 days from the date of last contact with the infected employee or until a valid negative test for COVID19. The closure provision does not apply to essential businesses as defined by Executive Order 20-91, as amended.
Code compliance numbers for reporting violations:
After hours or weekend issues needing immediate attention can be addressed to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 305-289-2351 for unincorporated Monroe County, Marathon, Layton, and the Village of Islamorada, and for the City of Key West contact Key West Police Department at 305-809-1000.
The State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) still has in effect its emergency order prohibiting alcoholic beverage sales for consumption on premises by bars. Under DBPR’s order, restaurants including those with liquor licenses must limit indoor dining to 50 percent capacity of their indoor seating capacity and continue to follow social distancing requirements. Report businesses violating the Governor’s Executive Order 20-139 to www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/emergency/.
Additional Monroe County COVID-19 related information can be found at www.monroecountyem.com/covid19.