Curfew back on: Strip club’s victory over Miami-Dade County could be short-lived

Tootsies Cabaret filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County's curfew

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami-Dade County’s curfew was lifted for a few days, but beginning Tuesday, lights out at midnight is back.

An appellate court will allow Miami-Dade County’s curfew to be reinstated until it can rule on a decision that has become a contentious debate between the county and a Miami Garden’s strip club.

On Friday, Tootsie’s Cabaret won a temporary restraining order against Miami-Dade County’s curfew after a judge ruled in favor of the civil lawsuit. Calling it illegal, Miami-Dade Judge Beatrice Butchko issued a temporary injunction that rendered enforcement of the curfew null and void.

Immediately after Butchko’s ruling, the county immediately appealed. On Monday, the court swung in Miami-Dade’s favor, reinstating a stay of the injunction order, which means the curfew is back.

While Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez had the ability for the curfew once to be fully enforced immediately, enforcement will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to give residents and businesses time to be “duly informed."

The appeals court is still reviewing the injunction order and will have to make a ruling, but for now, Tootsie’s and others have been stripped of staying open past midnight.

“The decision is a big disappointment, especially to Tootsie’s employees and contractors, who will lose income as a result," a Tootsie’s spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. "We respect the Appeal’s Court temporary stay of the injunction against Miami-Dade County’s curfew. We are confident we will prevail based on last week’s Circuit Court ruling that the curfew clearly conflicts with the Governor’s emergency orders. Tootsie’s continues to take seriously Covid-related safety measures and urges others to do so.”

Miami-Dade County issued Amendment 3 to Emergency Order 27-20 on Oct. 12 that instituted a curfew from midnight through 6 a.m. “All restaurants and food service establishments shall close for on-premises dining between the start of the curfew at 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. These establishments may still continue to operate their kitchens after 12 a.m. strictly for the purpose of providing delivery and drive-through services only,” the order reads.

Miami-Dade County has the second largest case number in the United States behind Los Angeles County, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

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