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Miami-Dade Restaurant Owners React to New County Curfew

Stephanie Vitori
(Photo courtesy of Stephanie Vitori)
Stephanie Vitori, owner of Cheeseburger Baby, poses in her restaurant.

Miami-Dade restaurants and bars can now stay open longer at night, after the county pushed back its curfew this week.

Restaurant and bar owners in Miami-Dade are feeling some relief. The county officially pushed back its curfew from 11 p.m. to midnight this week.

Matthew Kuscher owns several restaurants in Miami-Dade. He says the shortened curfew has eased the stress he’s been dealing with during the pandemic.

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“It’s definitely a breath of fresh air,” he said. “We’re in the hospitality industry and it’s hard to tell people no and that they have to leave by a certain minute. It’s a little bit of breathing room that we can have to just be able to operate normally.”

Alec Fernandez is an owner of the croqueta bar Dos Croquetas. He says there are still fears of spreading the virus, but reducing the curfew is a helpful step from the county.

“A lot of people come out to eat late at night. So, it just helps us capture that two extra hours from our normal time, 10 o’clock, to see if we can grab any extra revenue to just support our business,” he said.

Fernandez said he has kept indoor dining at 25 percent and doesn’t plan to change that soon. The restaurant’s ventanita will also be open until midnight.

They have also relied on sanitizer, masks, delivery, a patio and nationwide shipping during the pandemic.

Just like Fernandez, Stephanie Vitori isn’t taking any chances with this disease. She owns the restaurant and food truck Cheeseburger Baby and is focused on protecting her staff and customers.

Even though she thinks the curfew reduction is fair, she will keep her dining room indoors closed for now. Until then, Vitori’s restaurant offers outdoor seating and delivery options for customers.

“I'd rather be safe than sorry than be 10 steps backward again,” she said. “If we go backward again, it's over. I can't.”

The curfew change in Miami-Dade comes a few weeks after restaurants were allowed to reopen at full capacity. It currently runs from midnight to 6 a.m.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez first announced the change Friday, Oct. 9, adding that it would depend on the “weekend’s testing results and hospitalization.”

The change became official the following Monday.