MIAMI (WSVN) – Business owners and residents in Miami are weighing in on the city commission’s decision to aggressively enforce the curfew that is currently in place as a measure to help stem to spread of COVID-19.
As pandemic problems continue to plague businesses across South Florida, some owners said the enforcement of the citywide curfew, which extends from midnight until 6 a.m., is yet another challenge they have to deal with during a trying year.
“It’s not ideal. Most of the guests are pretty understanding. They understand that we’re not making up the rules,” said Jeff Grosser, the owner of Buya in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said officers will start to enforce the curfew starting Saturday.
“We may have a day of warning, but we will close them, and frankly, we expect people to do the right thing,” he said,
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said the goal isn’t for officers to hand out fines.
“We’ll go in somewhere if someone’s operating and allow them, give them the opportunity to shut down,” he said.
Andrea Marchesin, the chef at Toscana Divino in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, believes that if businesses comply, COVID rules won’t become any stricter than they are now.
“It will help the economy and the overall industry,” he said.
Commissioners voted in favor of enforcing the curfew Thursday night.
If restaurants do not close by midnight, they could receive a fine of up to $500, and patrons could each receive a $100 fine.
“They will have to settle up their tab at 11:45 and be off the premises by midnight,” said Grosser.
“If there is an effort from every bar, we can help each other,” said Marchesin.
Across the area, people have greeted the news with mixed emotions.
“COVID is getting worse again, and people are tired, so I think having a curfew is a great idea,” said Miami resident Bari Mirotznik.
“I really support small businesses, and if that’s what they need to survive, I don’t think that it’s really the right thing to do,” said Miami resident Ricki Goldsmith.
Colina said he and other officers went around the city Thursday night educating people and business owners about the curfew. He said they plan to go out again on Friday.
Grosser said he has every intention of following the rules, and his staff is preparing for the possibility that they’ll get stricter.
“I think a lot of people, they want 2020 to be over, but we don’t know what 2021 is going to look like. We’re still in this pandemic,” he said.
Even though officers will be able to fine people in violation of the curfew, the city won’t be able to collect the fines until after the expiration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ emergency order prohibiting municipalities from doing so.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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