MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Three Miami Beach businesses are back open after having to temporarily close over the weekend.
Caffe Milano, The Palace and The Clevelander all had to shut down for 24 hours Saturday due to playing music too loudly.
“Over the last week, we have shut down 20 businesses, temporarily, but we’ve shut them down for at least a day due to violating various elements of the emergency order— the curfew, ambient noise, things like that,” explains Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
According to the city’s new normal guidelines, music can only be played at “ambient” levels, or, essentially, background noise. This is to prevent shouting or yelling to lessen the germ spread. It is monitored by the city’s code enforcement officers.
“I wish somebody could tell me what really is ambient music,” said owner of The Palace, Thomas Donall. “Because one person may think it’s this, and one person thinks it’s that.”
He said after doing their shows for weeks, the shutdown came as a shock.
“If it continues to go on, more of us are going to be out of business. I’m going to be out of business,” he said.
“We really feel the city is not a partner with us anymore,” said Jessica Francos, the vice president of operations for Jesta Hotels and Resorts, which includes The Clevelander. “We just feel that they are there to lay down the law and close us down.”
She said they were unfairly targeted due to their well-known name.
“I spoke with the code officer, and he stated, ‘I heard you play Beyonce from 100 feet away,” Francos said. “I said I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you and told him we were not playing Beyonce. I actually know where the music was coming from, and I explained to him where it was coming from.”
They were forced to close at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, right before the Orange Bowl kickoff.
“We probably lost close to $100,000 in those 24 hours,” she said. “We had about 300 people in our venue, which is even less than 50 percent of capacity, and they still shut us down.”
Mayor Gelber said they do not want to close anyone down, but also said they will continue to strictly enforce the guidelines.
“Many of these are businesses that have invested in our community. We like them, but we still have to make it clear they’ve got to abide by these rules or we will close them down.”
Francos said she reached out to the city weeks ago asking for better clarification on the music volume. She said the city never responded.
Meanwhile, Gelber said the warning periods have been over for a long time, and they have a zero tolerance policy.