Curfew forces Miami bars and restaurants to close early for New Year’s

Workers and patrons of Miami Beach’s bars and restaurants said a curfew in effect since Nov. 5 is eating into their profits and fun, but most say they understand the reasoning behind it.

Just before Miami-Dade County officials placed a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew on all restaurants, bars and clubs, establishments were allowed to operate without restrictions. Broward County officials this week said businesses must close from midnight to 5 a.m. over the holidays. On New Year’s Day, the curfew starts an hour later there.

Jessica Wood, manager at Sand Bar + Kitchen in South Beach, said that the curfew being put back in place was unfortunate, but expected.

“Being open until 2 a.m. would be better,” she said. “I expected the curfew to stay in place before they removed it, so it is no surprise.”

Wood said that while the curfew being back in place hurts, things are at least still better than they were before when the curfew was from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“Being open until midnight is definitely better since we at least get more traffic the longer we are open,” she said. “Again, things would be better if we were able to be open until later though.”

With the curfew back, Wood said customers are again upset about being kicked out before football games finish.

“During the short time the curfew was removed the customers were able to watch the night games until the end,” she said. “Customers are upset again as they can’t just relax and watch the game for as long as they would like at a sports bar like ours.”

Many people said that they are unhappy about the curfew being back. Andres Oropesa, a 21-year-old Miami Beach resident, said he enjoyed the short time the curfew was gone.

“When I heard the curfew was gone, I was really excited,” he said. “I was able to stay out as long as I wanted but now since the curfew is back, I am once again unsure if it is worth it to go out most nights.”

Oropesa said that he just wants everything to return to normal but also that everyone’s safety comes first.

“I just want things to be like they were before,” he said. “However, the virus still poses a threat and as such I get why the curfew had to be put back in place.”

There are also those whose lives have remained mostly unaffected for the most part. Christian Castillo, a 23-year-old resident of Brickell, said that he knew it was only a matter of time before the curfew returned.

“The curfew returning was to be expected with the recent spike in cases in Miami-Dade as a whole,” he said.

Castillo said that the curfew has affected his outings to other places more than it has his outing to bars, but he sees this as a positive for most people who like to be out late.

“The curfew being back did not affect me that much as I have been avoiding going out recently anyway even while the curfew was gone,” he said. “I think the curfew will probably be in place until the vaccine is released next year.”

Christopher Gomez a student at FIU majoring in Communications studying Journalism. He enjoys cooking and photography in his free time.