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The Wharf Fort Lauderdale bans out-of-state spring breakers under 23

The new measure runs until the end of March

Social hot spot in Broward bans tourists who are 23 or younger
Social hot spot in Broward bans tourists who are 23 or younger

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – COVID-19 doesn’t seem to have deterred many students from flocking to Fort Lauderdale, because the bars along Las Olas and A1A are apparently so crowded that at least one popular spot is taking it upon itself to decrease the crowds — even if it means only allowing people from out-of-state to enter if they’re 23 or older.

In a statement posted Friday on Instagram, The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, (a popular bar in Fort Lauderdale, with a location in Miami), announced the shocking measure: Through March 31, they will restrict guests with out-of-state IDs to those 23 or older.

The post reads, in part, “During Spring Break season #WharfFTL will be 23+ for all guests with out-of-state ID 😄 #KnotWorking.”

The smiley face emoji truly seems to speak volumes, as reports of packed bars with maskless patrons have started surfacing late this week.

The post continues, “General Admission & walk-ups are welcome💙 however, we will be operating at reduced capacity. For guaranteed admission, please reserve a table by visiting us at wharfftl.com, calling us at (954) 372-7606 or emailing hello@wharfftl.com.😷 Masks must be worn at all times while walking through common areas and when not eating or drinking.”

In a statement shared with Local 10 News, management of The Wharf said:

“With the anticipated influx of college-age students visiting from out of state, we believe this is the responsible thing to do to protect our guests and staff from the spread of COVID-19, as well as to help keep our doors open long term.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis says he’s in favor of the measure.

“I think it is a very creative way to try and minimize the amount of patrons that they are going to invite into their space because right now we are still in the midst of COVID,” Trantalis said.

The mayor is well aware of issues the city has had at The Wharf. In November, the business closed temporarily after dozens of people were spotted shoulder to shoulder, not social distancing and ignoring COVID-19 safety rules by not wearing masks.

The latest self-imposed restriction, management says, is in an effort to follow the rules and remain open.

At least one customer there Friday afternoon disagreed.

“I mean they are doing a great job in making sure that people are wearing masks, so I think it is kind of silly,” she said.

In Miami Beach, the city has increased spring break police staffing but said what’s been seen so far is nothing compared to what visitors can expect this weekend. According to officials, more enforcement measures will be implemented this week, with school off for spring break and increased occupancy rates at local hotels.

Do you know of any other bars in South Florida taking these measures? Please reach out to us at nlopezalvar@wplg.com.


About the Author:

Nicole Lopez-Alvar is a Miami-born and raised journalist and TV personality covering South Florida and beyond for Local10.com.