Throughout Miami, last call is now officially 11:59 p.m.
On the cusp of a three-day holiday weekend and in the midst of a pandemic that is seeing COVID-19 infection rates exploding all over Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez has issued an emergency order that prohibits businesses from selling alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption after midnight.
The order states, “Commencing on June 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., no establishment permitted to open that serves alcohol shall sell alcohol for on-site consumption between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. each day.”
The order also notes that bars, pubs, night clubs, cocktail lounges, cabarets, hookah lounges, and breweries are to remain closed. The order went into effect June 29 at the stroke of midnight.
Unlike the June 26 state order banning bars from selling drinks for on-premises consumption, which had no effect on Miami-Dade because the county’s bars hadn’t been given the go-ahead to reopen, Giménez’s order hits restaurants and their patrons where it hurts — on the bottom line and the liver, respectively.
Any business that violates the order is to be shut down for a minimum of 24 hours and must then attest in writing that it is complying with the county’s orders. Repeat offenders much submit a written compliance plan to the county that is subject to the mayor’s approval.
Lest there be any doubt, the City of Miami Beach included the midnight alcohol ban wording in its June 29 mandatory facemask order. Along with the mandate that all people — both indoors and outdoors — must wear a face covering when not social distancing or risk a $50 fine, the order states that “all establishments that are licensed to serve alcoholic beverages must cease the sale of those alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption between the hours of 12:01 and 6 a.m. each day, and hookah lounges shall remain closed.”
Cheeseburger Baby’s Stephanie Vitori says the booze ban only serves to punish her regulars. “It’s my locals who just want to chill out with a late-night burger and a beer after midnight. Now I can’t even give them a cold brew.”
The sale of alcoholic beverages from liquor stores and markets is not affected by the order, which also continues to permit the sale of drinks to-go.
With beaches closed July 3-7 and fireworks displays canceled, this might be a good time to order a few six-packs from your local brewery and one of these and stay cool while you hunker down this weekend.