Miami Beach business owners reacted to the curfew and business restrictions imposed by the city’s government in response to recent violence, telling FOX Business that it is causing them to lose tens of thousands of dollars.
After two shootings left five people injured, Miami Beach officials implemented a curfew and several restrictions on businesses that are intended to “mitigate dangerous and illegal conduct.”
The curfew will run from 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m. through March 28, and businesses are expected to “close sufficiently in advance of the curfew” in order to give individuals enough time to leave before violating the curfew.
From 11:59 p.m. through 6 a.m., businesses other than hotels can operate, but through delivery services only. Takeout and pickup are not permitted, according to the city.
Additionally, alcoholic beverage sales “for off-premises consumption” is prohibited in the area of the curfew past 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
For Rick Silverberg, owner of Portofino Wine Bank, this means his wine store cannot sell or make deliveries to individuals past 6 p.m., which is translating to a loss of at least $10,000 per day.
“I estimate we’ll lose at least ten thousand dollars a day in sales in these hours. Normally we stay on until midnight. And, you know, now being forced to close at 6 p.m. And 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. are the busiest hours for sure,” Silverberg said. “So it has a big adverse effect and impact as well as my staff because my staff also, you know, I don’t pay them to stand around, so they all lose hours. I mean, I have to let guys go home and they don’t necessarily want to do that.”
Silverberg also said that the decision to allow bars and restaurants to operate until almost midnight but force liquor, beer, and wine stores to close at 6 p.m. is “absurd.”
“There are already laws in place that make it illegal to drink wine or alcohol of any sort on the beach, Silverberg said. “So closing a liquor store? Doesn’t seem like it does anything when you can walk across the street and belly up to the bar and slam as many shots as you want with no restriction until midnight.”
He’s also concerned that this emergency action by Miami Beach officials will be used again when there’s a spike in violence.
“I’m concerned that they’re going to do it next weekend, and the following weekend, and the following weekend, until they decide that, OK, we’re going to go back to our original hours,” Silverberg said. “I’m concerned that there’s no end in sight.”
The curfew is also having a massive effect on restaurants and bars like Mango’s Tropical Café in Miami Beach, which is typically open until 5 a.m., but is now forced to close before midnight due to the curfew.
Joshua Wallack, chief operating officer of Mango’s Tropical Café, told FOX Business that the curfew shuts down Miami Beach and sends tourists over to Miami.
“The curfew, you know, effectively shut down a beach and sends all the tourists over to Miami,” Wallack said. “Two idiots that really ruined it for tens of thousands of people that were having a good time in Miami Beach in March, which is supposed to be the best month of the year.”
He added that the whole city is “paralyzed” because of the emergency actions being taken, and said that it could have been avoided, stating that the curfew is only hurting businesses.
“We used to program Ocean Drive and Loomis Park beautifully, you know, and they still haven’t figured it out yet, and they want to punish the businesses that have been there for 30 years and say it’s our fault, when it’s not our fault,” Wallack added.
One restaurant owner has already sued Miami over the curfew, stating that it’s an “arbitrary” measure that will ultimately hurt businesses, according to the Miami Herald.
The owner of Papi Steak in Maimi beach sued the city in an attempt to block the curfew.
“While Plaintiff fully understands and appreciates the City’s desire to ensure the safety of City residents and visitors in light of recent violent events, the Curfew is impermissibly overbroad and indiscriminately targets areas of the City that have been safe, secure and free from the violence … east of Collins Ave.,” the lawsuit states.