Miami’s South Beach entertainment district held a voter referendum to decide on stoping alcohol sale by 2:00 AM instead of the current 5:00 AM. The residents voted in favor of an earlier time to stop alcohol sale.
The South Beach entertainment district has seen an increase in unruly crowds, using alcohol in public and causing a surge in violence in the area. The problem worsened during the pandemic when city officials closed the main drag to vehicles and allowed restaurants to offer more outdoor seating along Ocean Drive.
During spring break, the city had to impose an 8:00 PM curfew to stop people from gathering despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 people were arrested for violating the curfew and continuing alcohol fueled parties.
Residents of the area had gotten tired of the problems caused by people coming into the district and disrupting their lives.
Mayor Dan Gelber, who pushed for a 2:00 AM closing time, also won reelection on Tuesday.öo
The city’s commissioners agreed to a temporary restriction of early-morning alcohol sales in South Beach last summer. Now city staff must develop legislation to codify the referendum. The Mayor expects commissioners to support such measures now that voters have spoken.
South Beach club owners poured $675,000 for a campaign to stop the referendum, claiming earlier closing time for alcohol sales won’t solve the problem. But the residents’ vote illustrated people and communities identify alcohol as a driver of the surge in disruptions and violence in the area.
Reducing alcohol availability is a World Health Organization recommended policy solutions to prevent and reduce harm caused by alcohol to communities.