A local strip club could damn a business curfew in Miami that was implemented to curb the pandemic coronavirus in Florida’s largest province.
For the past several months, local regulations in Miami-Dade have required businesses close by night, a move taken by county officials in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus.
But on Friday, a Miami-Dade judge ruled in favor of Tootsie’s strip club at the Miami Gardens, accusing the city, of arguing that the club should be allowed to stay open beyond the midnight curfew.
In her decision on Friday, Judge Beatrice Butchko wrote that county regulations directly contradicted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis̵7; order that coronavirus-related restrictions do not prohibit Floridians from operating.
The Miami-Dade curfew has ordered opposition [DeSantis’ executive order] because they prohibit Tootsies from operating; they prohibit employees and contractors from working; and they reduced the capacity to zero for the entire time subject to the curfew, “Butchko wrote.
While the strip club has made a somewhat unusual argument in court, seemingly claiming that the dance is an expression of free speech protected by the province’s constitutionally violated, Friday’s decision could have major implications for provincial businesses.
Some observers believe the decision could significantly override the province’s curfew, allowing restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses to remain open all night.
In a statement on Saturday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city will not enforce the curfew, so as not to confuse local businesses. But as the Miami Herald note, Miami-Dade County may decide to implement the curfew, which could put the county in conflict with a judge’s order.
“We will not enforce the curfew tonight,” Suarez said. “In order not to create confusion, we will not enforce the curfew until there is clarity.”
Florida is particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, the state reported more than 4,000 new cases of coronavirus, and 87 died. Nearly 16,000 Floridians have died in the state since the pandemic began earlier this year.
However, the state will be charged early on reopening with some mandatory guardrail for residents against the virus.
Last month, DeSantis announced that the state would allow bars and restaurants to open full capacity, and bypass local regulations and ordinances attempting to limit capacity. While it provides several ways for counties and cities to still impose restrictions, its ordinance includes a ban on local governments issuing any coronavirus policies that prevent people from operating.
The governor also declined to implement a mask mandate, and seems to be supported by large, indoor outdoor events, which attended a Trump rally last week and allowed professional sports teams to play games with the thousands of fans.
After issuing his order, Tootsie immediately stopped following the curfew, a lawyer for the club James Benjamin told Miami Herald. This allowed nightclub workers to earn, he said, but a club manager was given a $ 500 citation by the county police for staying open one night.
Friday’s decision comes just days after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez pushed the curfew from 10 pm to midnight.