By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
(April 10, 2020) – It is during the most trying of times when the strength of our community is tested. I want to thank our residents who are staying home and putting our community first, our local businesses for adhering to City, Miami-Dade County and State of Florida orders, and our City staff for responding to the emergency quickly and efficiently.
From the early stages of this emergency, our City has been dialed in responding to the day-to-day challenges, changes and needs of the situation. Consistency is key, especially as news is moving so rapidly, which is why we made the conscious decision to keep our messaging and orders uniform with the County and State to minimize confusion.
As a municipality, we adhere to all ordinances signed by the governmental bodies that supersede us, Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. In some cases, where the state allows, we implement stronger directives, as evidenced by our curfew. At the end of March, we ordered residents to remain at home unless they are engaging in essential activities, going one step further than the County’s “Safer at Home” order. And we are now under a statewide stay-at-home order.
However, there are also cases where we are unable to override County or State orders. One issue I have received numerous questions about is ongoing construction within our City. We have not ordered this activity to cease because we are not empowered to do so at this time. It is my personal opinion, and the City’s desire, to curtail construction activities in Sunny Isles Beach, but our City Attorney, along with additional local municipal attorneys, have indicated that the City could expose itself to material legal ramifications for overriding a State’s order.
This being said, we issued Emergency Order 03-20, which permits only essential construction activity in multi-family residential buildings. On the same day, we also issued Emergency Order 04-20 requiring contractors of construction sites to strictly adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and City guidelines including, but not limited to, increased sanitization efforts, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and 10 or fewer persons per work area. Miami-Dade County Police is also visiting construction sites to ensure they are compliant with the guidelines.
To those of you who are disregarding our emergency orders, still congregating on the streets and not adhering to social distancing guidelines, it is time to step up and take responsibility for yourself. Act as though you have the virus and that everyone around you has it as well.
To those who believe we are not providing enough enforcement, these new emergency orders cover every square foot of our city. Our police and other enforcement professionals cannot be everywhere all the time. That is why every one of us has to take personal responsibility for our own actions and respect the new orders that are in place.
To those who believe we are implementing too many regulations, I want you to know that as community leaders, it is our job to protect our community from all threats, whether they be other humans, natural disasters or infectious diseases. I know some disagree with our orders and I understand your frustrations. But it is important you understand that every order is meant to keep our city, our region and our country safe. I cannot tell you when this will all be in our rearview mirror, but what I can tell you is that we will always champion your safety in Sunny Isles Beach.