MIAMI(CBSMIAMI) – Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said his officers have taken to the streets to educate business owners about a curfew being implemented in his city, calling it an important step in light of the surging coronavirus cases.
Miami police this weekend will start enforcing a countywide midnight curfew this weekend after a vote by city commissioners to follow the county’s rule.
Colina told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Originally we didn’t want to go to a curfew even though there is one countywide because we wanted to give our business owners and our lounges a chance to recover after the shutdown. Now because of a COVID surge, enforcement means there will be a shut down at midnight. Businesses have to shut down between midnight and 6 a.m.”
The curfew applies to everyone he said.
Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo released a statement on Friday that those attending religious services were exempt.
Watch CBS4’s Jessica Vallejo’s report:
Colina said violators could be cited and fined up to $500.
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CBS4 followed Miami police on Friday as they went door to door educating business owners about the curfew. Code enforcement staff and fire department inspectors are also helping.
“The message Peter is that we are trying to find that fine line between the ability to earn a living and remain safe,” Colina said. “The cases are surging and there is a concern that if we don’t take some type of action we could have a hard closure like the past. Certainly, we don’t want to have a massive shut down like before. We just want to find a happy medium so people can remain safe and make a living.”
Adam Gersten has owned Gramps Bar for more than eight years in Wynwood. He said the curfew will deprive him of income because he is normally open on Friday and Saturday nights until 3 a.m.
“It is going to hurt us for sure,” he said. “I hope we are able to do business in the early hours. I have mixed feelings. This affects everyone’s take-home pay and this is the holidays.”
“There is a balance we have to strike,” he added.
Gersten said he is trying to get ahead too.
“We are trying to keep ourselves in a longer mindset and we are hoping that by tamping down that we will still get to have a strong season. If this helps then we just have to roll with it. I think a lot of us feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are signs that things are getting better sooner rather than later, but we have a long way to go.”
However, over in Miami Beach, club owners have had to close at midnight since the very beginning of the pandemic.
Romain Zago, the owner of Mynt nightclub says club owners must enforce masks and control the limit of people entering their venue.
“We make sure our capacity is less than 50 percent,” said Zago.
The curfew will be until further notice. However, Zago hopes it is lifted before New Year’s Eve.
“People will go to house parties or illegal Parties and Cdc guidelines will not be enforced.”
The curfew will be until further notice.
Commissioners have indicated that it could be lifted if the city’s two-week average positivity rate for coronavirus cases drops below 5.5 percent.