Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks to undecided voters at Miami town hall

Biden calls for mask mandate on federal property
Posted at 4:40 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 02:57:38-04

MIAMI — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made a swing through South Florida on Monday that culminated with an NBC town hall in Miami.

Hosted by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, the event was held on an outdoor veranda at the Pérez Art Museum along Biscayne Bay.

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Attendance was limited, with voters processed through one gate and screened with a 10-question health check. During the hourlong event, Biden took questions from the all-important undecided Florida voter.

One woman was concerned that Biden seemed to be rattled by President Trump in the first presidential debate.

"I'm used to bullies. I used to stutter when I was a kid. I learned how to fight," Biden said.

Other serious questions ranged from the economy to coronavirus.

"Can you tell us what the Biden-Harris federal response plan [to coronavirus] would [do to] unite our country?" one voter asked.

"As president of the United States, I would make a federal mandate on federal property buildings; you must wear a mask. Period. And you must be socially distance -- No. 1. No. 2, I would make sure we move very rapidly to get testing available to everyone," Biden said.

A furloughed flight attendant asked what he would do to restore the travel and tourism industry.

"We could have, in fact, already solved that problem. Congress passed the legislation to provide that money to keep the airlines up and running," Biden said.

Monday night's town hall was the final stop on a day-long stump through Miami, trying to shore up the undecided voters. It was perhaps one of Biden's most moment critical stops.

WPTV asked voters leaving the town hall if the event made a difference in who they will vote for.

"Absolutely. I am 100 percent voting for Joe Biden," said a resident of Royal Palm Beach who attended the Miami event.

"I think that I always had my answer, but it certainly confirmed [who I'll vote for]," said one female voter.

Biden said Monday he is willing to go forward with an in-person debate later this month "if scientists say it’s safe," even after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Undecided voters file into the Joe Biden town hall in Miami on Oct. 5, 2020.
Undecided voters file into the Joe Biden town hall in Miami on Oct. 5, 2020.

Speaking to reporters before boarding a flight to campaign in South Florida, the Democratic presidential nominee declined to say Monday whether he believes the next presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15, should be virtual.

Instead, he said he would "listen to the science" and that "if scientists say that it's safe, that distances are safe, then I think that’s fine."

Biden and Trump stood about 10 feet apart during the last debate, though neither wore a mask during the event. Trump tested positive for the virus just two days later and was hospitalized Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Plans for the second debate are in question following Trump's diagnosis, and the development has already informed changes to the vice presidential debate. Vice President Mike Pence and Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, will stand 12 feet apart, rather than the 7 feet originally planned.

Watch the full town hall below:

Portions of this article courtesy of the Associated Press