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Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber Says 'We Should Be Thanking' Those Enforcing Social Distancing Rules

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of warnings are being issued every day to people who may be endangering others and themselves by not covering their faces or social distancing. It's happening here and across the country, and it's putting those charged with enforcing the rules at serious risk.

An incident captured by a city of Miami Beach code enforcement officer's body camera shows a man so angry that he isn't allowed inside Publix without a mask that he curses out the officer.

While the video shows an extreme scenario, the Miami Beach city manager says they've seen other hostile reactions toward their employees and law enforcement officers.

"I get that people are getting antsy, frustrated. I'm sure there is economic burden also that is feeding that kind of frustration," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, "But you should never just scream, curse.

After 7,300 verbal warnings were issued for people not wearing masks at parks over the weekend, the popular south pointe park, where a majority of those were given, was closed Monday.

If people can't adhere to park guidelines, the mayor said beaches likely won't reopen soon.

"Makes us wonder what were gonna do about our beaches. Because if it's hard to practice social distancing in a park like that, imagine what happens when beaches are open and tens of thousands more coming. Almost impossible," the mayor said.

Even after the popular park was closed, more than 1,100 warnings were given for people not wearing masks. More than 320 guests were asked to leave parks on Monday alone, even after they were closed.

Instead of responding to officers like the one in the Publix video, Mayor Gelber says we should be thanking them.

"Frankly grateful. They're only trying to keep communities safer by let people know what's in their best interest to keep their families safer," he said. "We shouldn't be screaming, we should be thanking them, complying with these very clear regulations because they're intended to save lives."

And it's not just South Florida.

All over the country the pandemic has brought out aggressiveness – even violence in many. A security guard in Michigan was shot and killed after asking a customer to put on a mask. A Texas park ranger pushed into the water after asking people to socially distance.

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