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Miami nightlife’s beat is slowly coming back with smaller gatherings

MIAMI – Ball & Chain in Little Havana and Club Space near Overtown are some of the iconic Miami nightlife venues that are reopening with strict measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

These are some of the new rules: Temperature checks at the door. Plexiglass partitions at the bar. Distance between tables. No crowding outside of the restrooms. Bedazzled face masks are welcome.

“Guests are only allowed inside if they have a table,” said Loren Abraham, Ball & Chain’s director of operations.

Ball & Chain reopened at 12 p.m. for lunch with live music and closed at 11 p.m. on Thursday. A curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and capacity limits remain in effect in Miami-Dade County.

To reduce the risk of infection, epidemiologists recommend spending more time outdoors while social distancing. This is a clear advantage to bars, lounges and nightclubs that can capitalize on outdoor space.

Behind the Ball & Chain tavern, there is a large bohemian outdoor area with plenty of space to dance salsa in front of the Pineapple-shaped stage. Club Space is known among lovers of electronic music for its sunrise parties on the rooftop patio.

Gov. Ron DeSantis gave businesses the green light to reopen in September. Miami-Dade County is still enforcing limits on capacity. Local officials warned that code enforcement officers are on alert with the support of the fire and police departments.

While there were usually more than 1,000 people at Club Space on a Friday night, the management at the massive Entertainment District complex plans to reopen with 300 “Space Invaders” at a time starting Saturday.

Socializing during pandemic

Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities are ideal for people who live with health conditions and are at risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area.

Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.

Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thursday afternoon in Little Havana

By Jeff Weinsier, Investigative Reporter


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