Ball & Chain was set to open today, and then the rules changed

Miami issued an amendment preventing ‘alcohol service establishments’ from reopening except for takeout

The city decided that "alcohol service establishments" couldn't join in reopening along with restaurants on Wednesday and must wait longer to welcome dine-in customers.

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.

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.

“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.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."