Ordinance limiting alcohol sales during spring break in Miami Beach to go to 2nd reading

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - An ordinance that will end alcohol sales earlier than normal in Miami Beach’s entertainment district during spring break was approved by commissioners on its first reading and will head to a second reading.

Commissioners voted on the new rule, which was proposed by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, during a meeting, Wednesday.

“Certainly, public safety does come number one,” Miami Beach Commissioner Steven Meiner said.

Under the ordinance, liquor sales will stop at 3 a.m. for 12 days during spring break to areas between Fifth and 15th streets on Ocean Drive. Other major roadways, such as Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue and Española Way, are also affected by the ordinance.

“We’re being promoted as a place where anything goes,” Gelber said during the meeting.

Earlier on Wednesday, the city made it law to have an off-duty police officer in all Ocean Drive bars after midnight on weekends in the entertainment district.

The mayor’s original proposal stated that alcohol sales would be stopped at 2 a.m. during a 17-day period as a way to try and maintain control over spring break crowds that, in years past, have fought in the streets as seen in viral videos posted online.

“It’s about chaos,” resident John Deutzman said. “Crime may be down, who cares? It’s about chaos.”

The usual cut off time for alcohol sales in Miami Beach is 5 a.m.

After hearing from the public and from members of the business community, commissioners voted on the 3 a.m. time to stop selling alcohol.

Business owners and advocates for what some call South Beach’s late night lifeblood are not thrilled with what could become the new rule.

“We’re not supporting it,” Clevander owner Mike Palma said. “We don’t think it’s got anything to do with what’s going to help really deal with the spring break issues.”

“We don’t want a revelation to happen that goes around the world that Miami Beach is closed,” Mango’s owner David Wallack said.

A second reading on the ordinance will be held on Feb. 26 at City Hall, and it will become law should it pass.

If the law is passed, it would only apply for 2020 and will need to be voted on again in later years to be enforced in the future.

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