As coronavirus spreads across Florida, Miami's tourism industry is bracing for a major hit. For service-industry workers — and employees in any other vulnerable field — that could translate into lost tips, reduced hours, and even layoffs.
Last night, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared a state of emergency for the county. Following that announcement, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) this morning said it has suspended eviction enforcement.
"Due to @MayorGimenez declaring a state of emergency in #OurCounty, the #MDPD has temporarily suspended all eviction activities until further notice," the police department tweeted.
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MDPD has not always been so considerate.
Last year, as Hurricane Dorian threatened to hit South Florida, Miami-Dade police helped evict an elderly woman from her longtime apartment in South Beach. Gimenez later said it had been a mistake to evict the 75-year-old resident.
A story by New Times writer Jess Nelson about the eviction made waves and ultimately led state lawmakers to file legislation to pause all evictions during emergencies. In November, county commissioners also passed a policy to suspend evictions from public housing during any future natural disaster.
The Community Justice Project, a local nonprofit that advocates for Miami's vulnerable populations, was at the forefront of the fight to pass those changes. Co-founder Alana Greer, tells New Times the organization plans to issue a letter this afternoon demanding further action from local lawmakers to aid those communities as coronavirus cases multiply.