MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is officially making its return to Miami Beach in May to showcase the best in national and local cuisine, chefs, and brands. However, this year, the festival is expected to look and feel different, as the pandemic directly impacted the food and beverage industry, and proof of a COVID test or vaccination will be required for entry.
On Monday, the Food Network SOBEWFF Presented by Capital One announced their return and official lineup, with tickets going on sale starting March 22. The festival, which features numerous events, activations, dinners, and auctions, will run from May 20 through May 23. While the festival is back, there are numerous health and safety measures that have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to SOBEWFF founder Lee Brian Schrager, going forward with the festival in 2021 was more imperative than ever before, due to the impact COVID-19 has left on restaurants and the industry. In a note to all readers of SOBEWFF.org, he writes, “Now – more than ever – the need to support the supremely gifted chefs, mixologists, event planners, and small businesses located right here in our own backyard is extremely evident to us.”
The note continues, “The past year has by no means been easy for our beloved hospitality industry, leaving thousands unemployed and permanently shuttering the doors of hundreds of businesses. It is with this in mind, that we made the decision to move forward with the 20th annual edition of the Festival – to do our part to further propel the recovery of an industry that has given so much to us.”
According to Schrager, in partnership with Florida International University epidemiologists and infectious disease scientists, the festival has adopted new health and safety protocols. He says these measures will, “...ensure the wellbeing of our attendees, staff, participants, volunteers, talent, and exhibitors, and, by extension, keep our beloved community safe.”
The new health and safety protocols detailed on the website state that all but one event will be hosted outdoors, capacity will be reduced to 50% or less, contactless PPE distribution will vary per event, all tickets will be digitalized, proper use of masks is mandatory, and one major change — guests and staff will be expected to “provide proof and/or attestation to a negative PCR COVID-19 test dated no more than 72 hours prior to the event(s) you will be attending or alternatively proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination.”
Furthermore, they will ban entry to those who present symptoms or a positive rapid test result, as well as to those not willing to cooperate.