- The Washington Times - Monday, January 4, 2021

Several popular bars in Miami Beach were shut down New Year’s Day for violations against the city’s coronavirus orders that limit how loudly local establishments can play music.

The Clevelander South Beach, Caffe Milano and Palace Bar & Restaurant were ordered to close during one of the busiest weekends of the year due to playing music above an ambient level, Miami Beach Police said.

“Each business will be closed for 24 hours for violating the emergency order, which only allows establishments to play music and have entertainment at ambient levels,” Miami Beach Code Enforcement said in a statement. “We welcome our businesses to operate, but they must do so in accordance with the applicable guidelines. Miami-Dade County remains under a declaration of emergency as a result of COVID-19.”

An emergency order issued in September requires restaurants, bars and nightclubs play music at a decibel level below that of normal conversation, with the reasoning that playing loud music forces people to talk loudly and spread coronavirus particles through the air.

Palace Bar owner Thomas Donall told WSVN the closure was just one more hit to his already suffering business, which is famous for its drag show brunches.

“This is the most embarrassing moment of my life, with a full restaurant, ready to watch the show, and I had no warning that anything was going on, that we had to put the music almost off,” he said. “We complied, and now I’m shut down.”

“We’ve been through enough,” he separately told NBC 6. “I’m humiliated right now, and I have an empty restaurant, and I’m just trying to make it and get through this COVID, as we all are.”

A publicist for the Palace said the restaurant was permitted to reopen at 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening, but noted that about $40,000 was lost in business due to the closure.

“Palace Bar had to cancel 500 brunch reservations today. This is their busiest weekend and they lost over $40,000 between last night and their two brunch seatings today,” the publicist told the Miami New Times.

Jessica Francos, vice president of operations for Jesta Hotels, which operates the Clevelander, told the New Times that their business was also fined $1,000 for the violation.

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