County fights to re­vive COVID cur­few af­ter Toot­sies rul­ing

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - LOCAL & STATE - BY DOU­GLAS HANKS dhanks@mi­ami­her­ald.com

A court vic­tory by the Toot­sies strip club killed Mi­ami-Dade’s cur­few for the nightlife in­dus­try, but county lawyers asked an ap­peals court to re­vive the mea­sure be­fore mid­night Satur­day.

Mi­ami and Mi­ami Beach an­nounced Satur­day that lo­cal po­lice wouldn’t en­force the cur­few af­ter a Fri­day Cir­cuit Court rul­ing by Judge Beatrice Butchko that the county’s four-month-old cur­few or­der con­flicts with a Sept. 25 de­cree by Gov. Ron De­San­tis re­stric­tion lo­cal COVID rules.

In the mean­time, the mayor of Mi­ami said Satur­day that his city will no longer en­force the cur­few un­til it’s clear the coun­ty­wide or­der is still le­gal.

In a fil­ing with the Third District Court of Ap­peal, county lawyers con­firmed the Butchko in­junc­tion had left Mi­ami-Dade un­able to en­force the mid­night cur­few on its main tar­get: the nightlife scene.

Satur­day evening, Mi­ami-Dade an­nounced that un­til the ap­peal is re­solved county po­lice would not en­force the cur­few.

“As of right now, the County can­not en­force the cur­few at busi­nesses un­til res­o­lu­tion of the ap­peal. From a prac­ti­cal mat­ter, the cur­few is un­en­force­able un­til the ap­peal is set­tled by the courts,” Mi­ami-Dade Mayor Car­los Gimenez wrote in the state­ment. “How­ever, we can and will con­tinue to en­force the County’s or­ders on fa­cial cov­er­ings, dis­tanc­ing and im­por­tant rules gov­ern­ing pub­lic health pro­to­cols for busi­nesses.”

“The in­junc­tion al­lows any es­tab­lish­ment with a li­cense to serve food — which in­cludes restau­rants, bars, adult en­ter­tain­ment venues, and night­clubs — the abil­ity to serve food and al­co­hol to pa­trons into ex­tended late night hours,” read the re­quest for an ex­pe­dited de­ci­sion from ap­peals court by David Mur­ray, the as­sis­tant county at­tor­ney who has been draft­ing emer­gency or­ders signed by Gimenez.

A rul­ing from the ap­peals court could come at any time, and a de­ci­sion in the county’s fa­vor Satur­day would put the cur­few back in place be­fore mid­night. Other­wise, Mi­amiDade’s nightlife scene will be al­lowed to legally re­sume over

A court vic­tory by Toot­sies strip club killed Mi­ami-Dade’s coro­n­avirus cur­few, but county lawyers asked an ap­peals court to re­vive it Satur­day.

CARL JUSTE cjuste@mi­ami­her­ald.com

Mi­ami Mayor Fran­cis Suarez said the city would be un­able to en­force the cur­few un­til clar­ity is found.

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