By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Since the first week of July, Miami-Dade County has limited restaurant capacity.  It is being enforced with some stiff penalties.

Tap 42 in Midtown is among one of the most recent restaurants to face a 24-hour shutdown.

It sat vacant Wednesday, as the general manager had to turn people away.

“I had to, unfortunately, call my whole team and let them know sorry you can’t come in today,” says John Curry, General Manager at the Midtown location. “But we’re going to be back at it strong tomorrow. It’s just unfortunate. We are struggling as it is.”

They received a citation Tuesday night for violating the 10:00 p.m. curfew.

According to the citation from Miami Police, there were 15 to 20 people still seated outside at 10:30.  It also says one patron walked came from using the restroom inside the restaurant without wearing a mask.

“They basically told us we have a $500 fine and we’re shut down for 24 hours,” Curry says.

That is the penalty for the first and second offense at restaurants. Miami Police Say they have 39 officers working all week to enforce the county mandates.

“Restaurants can only have patrons eating outside, no more than four to a table, from whatever time they open until 10 p.m.,” explains Assistant Chief Manny Morales. “They can remain open in the kitchen and the service in the back for delivery.”

This was the restaurants first offense at all seven of their locations. Curry says he wishes there would have at least been a warning.

“Instead of, you know, letting us know ‘Hey, this is what you need to know to follow all the rules,‘ they gave us the ultimate punishment,” Curry says.

“We were given a mandate from our mayor, by the elected officials, the city administration that there is no more warnings,” says Morales. “If we catch you and you’re violating one of the emergency orders, we are going to cite you.”

Curry says he wishes the curfew would be pushed to at least 11:00 to help with business.

“We have to get guests completely out of the building by 10:00, so in order to do that we’re going to have to have last call be at 8:30,” Curry says.

Miami Police gives these reminders, not just to restaurant employees, but also the patrons so they are not sticking around late and putting the establishment in a difficult position.

“We understand it is hard,” says Morales. “We’re not trying to go out there and be punitive. All we are trying to do is get compliance, because we understand that the emergency orders that we are enforcing are important to bring back a safety measure and restore public health.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said in order to allow indoor dining at restaurants again, the county has to be definitively under a 10% positivity rate. That was the case Wednesday, but the two-week average is still about 12%.

Broward County lifted their curfew back on August 3 and does allow indoor and outdoor dining at a reduced capacity.

Karli Barnett

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