On Saturday evening, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a last-minute curfew requiring all businesses countywide — including restaurants — to close by 10 p.m. due to escalating confrontations between police officers and police brutality protestors throughout the area. He made the announcement less than two hours before the curfew was set to take effect on Saturday, May 30.
It comes on the first weekend that the majority of restaurants throughout Miami-Dade County could reopen in-room dining after a more than two month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Myles Chefetz, the man behind perpetual Miami Beach hotspots Prime 112, Prime Fish, Prime Italian, and The Big Pink, says he was forced to close on his first busy night since the shutdown with an hour’s notice.
“At Prime 112, we were finally having a great night and a lot of reservations,” he notes. “It was difficult situation to navigate through. A night that was really looking great in the new normalcy really got crushed.”
“I understand why they have to do it,” Chefetz notes of the curfews, but he says “it couldn’t have come at a worse time.” He also adds that due to public transportation being suspended on Sunday and several road closures affecting highways that connect Miami Beach to rest of the city, he had several members of his team call out simply because they couldn’t physically get to work.
Jose Mendin, the chef and restauranteur of Pubbelly Sushi and La Placita, echoed the same sentiment, saying it affected business at all of his restaurant locations, most notably the Brickell outpost of Pubbelly Sushi on Saturday evening when it was time to close without much warning. But he says he is just taking it day-by-day and following the guidelines from the county.
The curfew was revised on Sunday to now begin at 9 p.m., while the City of Miami where the bulk to the protests have taken place over the past few days, chose to begin its curfew at sundown. No word yet from local officials if there will be a curfew in place for Monday evening or the forthcoming days.
“It’s one of the worst-case scenarios for the first week. I feel for my employees who rely on tips and have been out of work for two and a half months,” Chefetz adds.