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Miami Beach Business Owners Say Mayor's Curfew Is Cutting Into Their Bottom Line


Miami Beach is struggling to deal with a crush of spring breakers. The city has ordered a nighttime curfew from Thursday through the weekend for the next couple of weeks. It's hurting businesses already hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Here's WLRN's Veronica Zaragovia.

VERONICA ZARAGOVIA, BYLINE: Here on this block of famed Miami Beach, there's a tattoo parlor, cafes, a huge post office and a phone repair shop. But now, very little foot traffic.

EDMUNDO TARIN: (Speaking Spanish).

ZARAGOVIA: Look; we're empty, says Edmundo Tarin. Tourists are scared, he adds. Tarin manages the Alma Mexicana restaurant. He says people canceled deliveries over the weekend because police have blocked off streets.

TARIN: (Speaking Spanish).

ZARAGOVIA: This is our situation now, and we'll be affected every day till next month, he adds.

TARIN: (Speaking Spanish).

ZARAGOVIA: Sydney Austin says he could also use more customers. He manages a bike shop near the beach where people have been canceling reservations.

SYDNEY AUSTIN: They don't want to come to the city because they've heard so much bad press, and they're actually scared to come. So it has negatively impacted our business significantly, actually.

ZARAGOVIA: Tourist Ronisha Lightfoot of Houston says she came to celebrate her 35th birthday.

RONISHA LIGHTFOOT: And we were supposed to go out to the club, but we couldn't because the 8 o'clock curfew. But that's OK. We made it good. We made it worth the while of coming out here from Texas. So hey, girl, look; I will come back. I will come back.

ZARAGOVIA: Some businesses are changing how they operate, like the popular bar Clevelander, which closed voluntarily last Friday to protect its staff and patrons. It decided to reopen yesterday, even with the curfew. It's planning daytime gatherings as one way to limit spring break crowds gathering on the streets. For NPR News, I'm Veronica Zaragovia in Miami Beach.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care for the station. Verónica has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master's degree in journalism. For many years, Veronica lived out of a suitcase (or two) in New York City, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, D.C., San Antonio and Austin, where she worked as the statehouse and health care reporter with NPR member station KUT.
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