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Heard On Sundial: Mandatory Facemasks, Antibody Tests, Gen Z Fights Climate Change

Barbara and Gary Keisberg take time to read their books while visiting Matheson Hammock Park on Saturday, May 2, 2020 as MiamiDade County opens parks and marinas this week.

On this Tuesday, June 23, episode of Sundial:

Miami-Dade County Cities Requiring Masks 

Florida continues to see a rising number of coronavirus cases and municipalities are working to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Cities across Miami-Dade County have called for or considered mandatory mask-wearing including the city of Miami, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, Miami Shores, Aventura and Key Biscayne. 

But how are businesses being monitored to ensure customers are wearing masks — and what happens if they don’t comply?

“They tell me they’ve been doing these routine business checks,” said WLRN reporter Jenny Staletovich. “They say they’ve issued no citations. However, they have issued more than 3,800 warnings.” 

We spoke with Staletovich about the new facemask requirements and the state of antibody testing in South Florida.

Palm Beach Approves Mandatory Masks And An Update On Protests

Palm Beach County commissioners voted Tuesday on new regulations that require facemasks to be worn in public by everyone. 

The new rules come as the county has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases with nearly 11,000 positive cases and 481 deaths. 

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties account for half of the cases in the state.

“It was quite the tense debate between the public comment sections and county commissioners,” said WLRN’s Wilkine Brutus. “In order for businesses to come to phase two of Florida’s plan to reopen the economy, the spike of COVID-19 numbers need to go down here in Palm Beach County and so that was one specific argument that was made.” 

We spoke with Brutus about the new facemask requirements and an update on local protests against police brutality.

GenZ Podcast On Fighting Climate Change 

Young people around the world are leading the fight against climate change. 

“I want you to act as if the house was on fire because it is,” said 17-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, calling for action on climate change at the World Economic Forum last year.

The new podcast “House on Fire” from the non-profit CLEO Institute, focuses on climate change education and engagement is hosted by 17-year-old John Paul Mejia and 21-year-old Gabriela Rodriguez. 

"I saw that it was low-income Black and brown communities that were hit the hardest by this hurricane. And it really made me see this whole issue as not only one about the planet but the people on it," said Mejia about Hurricane Irma in 2017.

We spoke with Mejia and Rodriguez about their new podcast and the effects of the climate crisis in South Florida.

Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.