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Miami Beach Voters Will Decide Limits Of Alcohol Sales On Ocean Drive

Holly Pretsky
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, center, held an emergency press conference following Memorial Day Weekend violence during which he called for stricter liquor laws on Ocean Drive.

Miami Beach voters will decide in November if outdoor venues on Ocean Drive should stop selling alcohol at 2 a.m. instead of the current cutoff time of 5 a.m.

The Miami Beach City Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to add the question to the November 7 ballot. That vote came less than two weeks after Mayor Philip Levine proposed the idea following fatal shootings on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year in South Beach. 

Venues that are completely enclosed or that are located "entirely within hotels" would not be affected by the new rule, if voters approve it. 

Critics say the ordinance could pose an economic risk. Local business owners argued that a restriction on liquor sales could have an outsized impact the city’s bottom line.

"Let’s not take this decision and then end up in the same place next year because it hasn’t solved the crime. Because there’s no evidence to show that these particular venues... are resulting in this crime," says Ceci Velasco, interim director of the business group Ocean Drive Association.