MIAMI – Bill Fuller, who owns the popular Ball & Chain in Little Havana, says he spent money to restock food and brought his staff back for Wednesday’s reopening of onsite dining in Miami.
He says he then learned early this morning that his business wouldn’t be allowed to reopen because the City of Miami amended its order a day earlier to exclude bars, taverns and other “alcohol service establishments.”
Ball & Chain operates on a tavern license.
“It’s sad. It’s sad for my employees. It’s sad for Calle Ocho. It is sad for the state of affairs for the City of Miami,” Fuller said.
Just spoke with @BallAndChainBar co-owner Bill Fuller. He says he spent money to restock food + brought staff back to #reopen #onsite #dining today only to learn from the Fire Department early this morning the @cityofmiami order had been amended *yesterday* (thread👇). pic.twitter.com/9WmO9wWu2i— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) May 27, 2020
Fuller said he planned to open with a capacity “way more restrictive” than the 50% capacity the county order requires. Cities, however, are allowed to set forth more stringent restrictions, which Miami did in this case.
The city’s amendment excludes “bars, taverns, pubs, night clubs, banquet halls, cocktail lounges, cabarets and breweries” from reopening for onsite dining. These alcohol service establishments “may only continue to serve food for delivery or take out,” the order says.
Fuller said he was notified of the amendment when the fire department showed up Wednesday morning. He wondered why the city would amend its own order less than 24 hours from the start of the onsite dining reopening day.
Given @cityofmiami is one of the @miamidadecounty cities opening after the county - he doesn’t understand why their order would be amended less than a day before scheduled reopening date for on-site dining. He feels like they had time to clarify + claims not notified yesterday. pic.twitter.com/3ojFJnsq2h— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) May 27, 2020
“I really call on the City of Miami to get their house in order,” Fuller said. “There is no excuse to provide special, more restrictive provisions without a justifiable excuse — or reason. They need to provide a reason as to why this is being done to small businesses so that I can give an honest answer to my employees.”
Local 10 has reached out to the city for comment.
While restaurant bars in Miami aren’t allowed to open yet, Fuller took time Wednesday to get ready for that next phase. His staff today began putting up plexiglass around the establishment’s central bar.
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Unfortunately, this morning, 2 hours before our opening, after a week of calling back our employees and preparing for a safe and responsible reopening, we were told we could not open. Today at 5am the City amended their reopening order with total disregard for the efforts of our small businesses. They had weeks to inform us. To be clear, the new order contradicts, and is more restrictive, than both the State Governor and the County mayor. Shame on the City of Miami. Once again, you have placed politics ahead of the hard working citizens of our city who are suffering from unemployment. . . . #ballandchainmiami