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Miami Beach bars fear 2am booze ban

A proposed ban on alcohol consumption after 2am could hit Miami Beach’s bar scene to the tune of US$227 million per year, says economic study.

Miami voters will soon decide whether they want to put an end to late-night partying, with the power to bring into force a 2am curfew for bars, clubs and restaurants across the city.

If the alcohol ban goes ahead, it will cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars each year, not only in liquor sales but in lost customers over the long-term.

A study commissioned by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce revealed the move would result in more than 4,000 job losses in the hospitality sector, and would cost bars and clubs US$29 million in liquor sales annually, plus a US$14.6 million loss in tax revenue to the city.

“The issue is not just the loss of sales at that time,” said economist Hank Fishkind, who authored a similar study relating to Ocean Drive in 2017. “It’s the loss of those customers who like to party late into the evening.”

The step means those affluent clientele are likely to abandon Miami venues for another location.

“This study by the Chamber should be alarming to everyone who loves and believes in Miami Beach,” Joshua Wallack, chief operating officer of local business Mango’s Tropical Cafe, said in a statement.

Miami’s Mayor, Dan Gelber, who supports the ban, said his vision for South Beach is to replace the “all-night party” with offices, residential buildings and cultural spaces.

“It is difficult to attract that kind of investment, when more than 120 businesses have the ability to serve alcohol until 5 a.m,” he said. “Because who’s going to want to put a home office or a condo or a gallery in an area that is a 24-hour party zone?”

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