Miami’s nightlife stripped of 12am curfew after strip club’s lawsuit

Miami strip joint successfully sues Florida city and has 12am curfew lifted for all clubs, restaurants and bars

  • The city announced Saturday that police will no longer enforce the four-month-old curfew after a Friday Circuit Court ruling by Judge Beatrice Butchko
  • Tootsie’s Cabaret sued Miami-Dade County to overturn the restrictions that forced businesses, including clubs and restaurants, to shutter by midnight 
  • Tootsie’s argued that the curfew conflicted with a decree by Gov Ron DeSantis 
  • DeStantis barred officials on Sept. 25  issuing COVID-19 restrictions that cut a food establishment’s capacity below 50 percent or rob workers of employment
  • Butchko agreed with the Miami Gardens-based strip-club and ruled that Miami-Dade was banned from enforcing the curfew herein
  • On Saturday, Florida reported 4,044 new cases, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus infections since August 22 

The city of Miami has been forced to lift its 12am curfew on all clubs, restaurants and bars, following a successful lawsuit filed by a local strip club. 

In the case, Tootsie’s Cabaret sued Miami-Dade County to overturn restrictions that forced businesses, including clubs, bars and restaurants, to shutter between midnight and 6am.

Tootsie’s argued that the curfew conflicted with a September 25 decree by Gov Ron DeSantis, in which he barred local governments from issuing COVID-19 restrictions that cut a food establishment’s capacity below 50 percent or from implementing rules that would rob workers of employment.

Judge Beatrice Butchko, of Florida’s 11th Circuit Court, agreed, ruling Friday that Miami-Dade was banned from enforcing the curfew herein. 

Tootsie¿s Cabaret (above) sued Miami-Dade County to overturn the restrictions that forced businesses, including clubs, bars and restaurants, to shutter between midnight and 6am

Tootsie’s Cabaret (above) sued Miami-Dade County to overturn the restrictions that forced businesses, including clubs, bars and restaurants, to shutter between midnight and 6am

Tootsie¿s argued that the curfew conflicted with a September 25 decree by Gov Ron DeSantis, in which he barred local governments from issuing COVID-19 restrictions that cut a food establishment¿s capacity below 50 percent or from issuing rules that would rob workers of employment

Tootsie’s argued that the curfew conflicted with a September 25 decree by Gov Ron DeSantis, in which he barred local governments from issuing COVID-19 restrictions that cut a food establishment’s capacity below 50 percent or from issuing rules that would rob workers of employment

‘The Miami-Dade curfew orders conflict with [the Desantis order] because they prohibit Tootsies from operating; they prohibit employees and contractors from working and they reduce capacity to zero for the entire time subject to the curfew,’ the judge wrote, according to the Miami Herald.

The city announced Saturday that police will no longer enforce the four-month-old curfew order, in accordance with the judge’s ruling.

Within hours, as many as 50 men and women – many of whom weren’t wearing facemasks over their mouths and noses – were seen tightly gathered outside of Tootsie’s after midnight on Sunday, as observed by the Daily Beast.

Similar scenes of long lines and patrons gathered in large groups were also seen outside bars and lounges in Wynwood, Miami’s most popular nightlife destination, after 1am.

In a statement to the outlet, Tootsie’s said it sought the injunction to operate at its regular hours so its staff can make a living.

‘Tootsie’s continues to take seriously COVID-related safety measures, and urges others to do so,’ the statement said. ‘These measures include temperature check screening of guests, employees, and entertainers; requiring them to wear masks; social distancing; and limiting occupancy to 50 percent.’

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county would be appealing Butchko’s ruling, but for the meantime the curfew will be unenforceable.

‘As of right now, the County cannot enforce the curfew at businesses until resolution of the appeal. From a practical matter, the curfew is unenforceable until the appeal is settled by the courts,’ Gimenez said in a statement.

Two of the county’s biggest cities, Miami and Miami Beach, also announced officers would no longer enforce the restriction.

In a statement to the outlet, Tootsie¿s said it sought the injunction to operate at its regular hours so its staff can make a living

In a statement to the outlet, Tootsie’s said it sought the injunction to operate at its regular hours so its staff can make a living

On Saturday, Florida reported 4,044 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus infections since Aug. 22, according to the Tampa Bay Times (file photo from June)

On Saturday, Florida reported 4,044 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus infections since Aug. 22, according to the Tampa Bay Times (file photo from June)

Florida has managed to significantly curb its coronavirus daily outbreaks since midsummer, when the Sunshine State was racking up as many as 10,000 new cases daily

Florida has managed to significantly curb its coronavirus daily outbreaks since midsummer, when the Sunshine State was racking up as many as 10,000 new cases daily

Gimenez said the county would continue to enforce rules on face masks and social distancing. He also warned residents to avoid large social gatherings.

‘I am asking our residents and business owners to keep your guard up and diligently follow the County’s safety rules to protect our community during this pandemic,’ Gimenez said in a statement. ‘Please, continue to do your part to save lives.’

Butchko’s ruling is the latest weakening of Miami-Dade COVID measures from the DeSantis order. It also barred Miami-Dade from collecting civil fines for people issued tickets for following the county’s mask mandate.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county would be appealing Butchko¿s ruling, but for the meantime the curfew will be unenforceable

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county would be appealing Butchko’s ruling, but for the meantime the curfew will be unenforceable

Florida has managed to significantly curb its coronavirus daily outbreaks since midsummer, when the Sunshine State was racking up as many as 10,000 new cases daily and recording record-breaking deaths.

However, on Saturday, Florida reported 4,044 new cases, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus infections since August 22, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Still, over the last two weeks, the state’s health department has reported an average daily positivity rate of five percent or lower, the World Health Organization’s standard for safe reopening.

But troublingly, the Sun-Sentinel reported last week that the state agency was employing ‘a misleading measure of positive cases’ that DeSantis and his administration had used to justify the reopening of schools and businesses.

Other health organizations, like John Hopkins University, have published data that shows Florida’s daily positivity rate has actually been higher than 5 percent for 14 consecutive days.

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