Miami Beach

Business Owners, Workers Protest 2 a.m. Last Call in Miami Beach

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In true Miami Beach fashion, dozens packed Mango's Tropical Cafe on Wednesday to protest — in the form of a celebration — the rolled back last call for alcohol to 2 a.m.

The city passed the 2 a.m. rollback earlier this year to slow down crime but stopped enforcement this summer after a judge’s ruling.

“I don’t believe it’s going to be an efficient way to solve the problem," said Elizabeth Martinez, a homeowner on Miami Beach.

Voters will make their voices heard on the issue in a November referendum.

Some say it won’t curb crime but feel it would curb business.

“Basically, it showed that it didn’t work," said Alex Ruiz, Mango's Tropical Cafe director. "The only people that were affected were the people working. You’re talking about the performers, the artists, the waitresses."

Other Miami Beach business owners, like Mitch Novick, disagree.

“Chaos and mayhem every day throughout the evening," said Novick, who also shared a video of police outside of his business on Sunday night.

Novick says this is the reality of late-night alcohol sales and feels the rollback is overdue.

“I hope the voters of the city aren’t hoodwinked once again by big money entertainment interests," he said.

The 2 a.m. last call is the first step in Mayor Dan Gelber's 12-point plan to reduce crime.

"Miami beach, especially in this area that is sort of a party district, it just has become unsustainable," Gelber said. "An incredible amount of disorder, and unfortunately crime, comes from this area.”

Gelber says if voters are in favor of the rollback, he believes the commissioners would follow suit by passing ordinances to make it a reality. He is running for re-election next month.

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