By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  Miami Police broke up what they say could have been a “COVID disaster” this past weekend when an alert police commander came across something suspicious and officers including the Code Enforcement team moved in.

Police say it all started when the Wynwood Police Commander was driving by a business at 567 NW 27 Street on Saturday night.

“One of the Commander’s in Wynwood heard some thumping music playing. He found they were setting up for a big event. Supposedly, the big event was going to be some live streaming, but instead it was going to be a COVID disaster because they were expecting at least a thousand people to show up at this party,” explained Miami police spokesman Mike Vega in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.

Vega says police were able to stop the party from happening.

“It is just reckless to know that at least 1,000 people were expected to be there and you can be guaranteed that most of them would not be wearing face masks,” said Vega.

For months, Miami Police have been warning people about such gatherings, even before video showed dozens of people gathering next to each other while holding a party in April on the balcony of ICON Brickell while they were watching a concert. Only one person was seen in that video wearing a mask.

“You know how hard we have been trying to warn people about the need to wear a mask and social distance and stay safe and then you have a possible party happening of this magnitude,” said Vega.

Vega said the man who was managing the live streaming fled.

“We set up a perimeter but we were not able to find him. We are reviewing video to see if we can find the face of that person.”

So far, police have not been able to identify the man and say so far no one has been cited. But they say anyone who knows the name of that person or the people who organized the party should call Miami Police of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Jake Inphamous, who has been a music promoter for 16 years and who had been a club owner for four years, was concerned by this story.

“I believe people still want to get out like this but obviously they should not,” he said. “Most club owners I know as well as myself we try to keep our distance from all of this. It is bad publicity and ethics and morals. The message is just to try to stick it out another month or two hopefully.”

Inphamous, who has a nationwide following under the social media handle of @Jake_Inphamous, said “People need to hang tight because the more people party like this the more like us will not be able to open for festivals and venues.”

Miami Police say they have been extremely active in checking businesses for possible violations during the pandemic.

Vega says since July first, they have inspected 685 businesses and closed a total of 36 of them. Nineteen of them were closed for 10 days. Seventeen of them were closed for a day. They have also issued 217 tickets since July 1st and 59 written warnings.

“We want out businesses to remain open for long hours but they have to take precautions. They have to abide by the mandate,” said Vega.

Peter D'Oench

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