Business Owner Suing City Over Liquor Store Curfew in Miami Beach, Area Plagued by Violence During Spring Break
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Business Owner Suing City Over Liquor Store Curfew in Miami Beach, Area Plagued by Violence During Spring Break

Business Owner Sueing City Over Liquor Store Curfew in Miami Beach, Area Plagued by Violence During Spring Break

(Photo: Alie Skowronski/Miami Herald via AP)

City leaders in Miami Beach voted to limit liquor sales after two deadly shootings last weekend. On Wednesday, a liquor store owner filed a lawsuit against the city because of the newly imposed alcohol sales curfew. The city hopes less alcohol will mean less chaos but the business owner isn’t convinced. 

Miami Beach ordered alcohol sales from liquor stores to be cut off at 6 p.m. The liquor curfew begins today and will last through the weekend. The police chief and the city manager wanted a curfew for everyone after the violence that occurred last weekend, but the measure failed to pass. This left liquor stores alone to take the hit while bars and restaurants were allowed to continue alcohol sales.

 “They’re just picking on the liquor stores,” said Miami Beach’s Gulf Liquors owner Jorge Zubigaray, as reported by Local 10. “This is my time to make some money. This is the time that I make the money to cover up when I don’t make my money. So this is my little cushion and they’re taking my cushion from me.”

Zubigaray’s lawyer, Jennifer Pratt argued that the city is unfairly targeting small businesses, rather than finding a solution to make spring break safe. 

“This is unjustifiable, this is unfair, and quite frankly, we believe that it’s illegal,” Pratt said, according to Local 10. “These employees that are hourly wage employees (will lose work) because the city just wanted to do something?”

Zubigaray doesn’t think the liquor curfew will help. 

“Them shutting me down — there’s still gonna be an issue on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and I’d bet my liquor store on this,” he said, reported NBC 6

Police are also prepping for the start of Ultra Music Festival that starts tomorrow. 

Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales said, ”we will have plenty of officers on hand, and that includes undercover officers inside.” 

Miami Beach City Attorney Rafael Paz said in a statement, “we will defend the emergency order and the City’s right to impose measures intended to protect residents and visitors by curbing package liquor sales that fuel the unruly chaos on the streets.”

A question lingers as to why only liquor stores were targeted by the curfew as pointed out by an attorney.

“We believe it’s selective enforcement,” an attorney said, according to NBC 6. “We believe it’s arbitrary. If the city of Miami Beach’s concern is the sale of alcohol, they would ban it completely, and the curfew would be around for all businesses in the restricted area. Why only liquor stores?”

As of this afternoon, a court hearing wasn’t scheduled for Zubigaray’s lawsuit meaning the liquor store curfew will likely stay in place, at least for Thursday evening. It remains to be seen if the restriction of alcohol sales will have any effect on the chaos previously witnessed in Miami Beach. 

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Jessica Gleman is the managing editor of Rum Raiders. She received her Ph.D. at the University College of Dublin in Ireland, where she studied the archaeology of ancient alcohol. Jessica has a passion for the alcohol industry, including agriculture, distillation and mixology. When Jessica is not writing about rum, she is also a travel and food enthusiast who loves going around the world and experiencing various cuisines and cultures. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and expertise and learning even more about this amazing spirit.