After more than six months, some nightlife spots reopened for the first time after Gov. Ron DeSantis OK'd Phase 3 reopening. South Beach’s Mynt Lounge was one of them. Miami-Dade County is currently under an 11 p.m. curfew, so nightclubs are operating on condensed hours.
NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz spoke to the owner and managing partner of Mynt, Romain Zago.
SHELI: How does that work with an 11 p.m. curfew?
ZAGO: Well, it is still painful. I mean it's better than nothing, though. We'll take anything we can, but every club or lounge has minimum payroll and fees to open. It costs a lot of money to reopen so having a small opening from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. is extremely painful for us. We wanted to respect the 50% capacity, we did, but it wasn't hard. I think the most we had one night, maybe, was reaching 30% capacity. It's hard to come before 10, they don't even go to dinner before 9. Imagine a nightclub.
SHELI: How did the first weekend go? What does it look like now with social distancing?
ZAGO: Well, on the first evening, no one showed up before 9:30 p.m. We were about to cry, so basically people stayed just over an hour. Friday and Saturday, we had a bit more people. We had about 30% far from the 50% we wanted to reach. The social distancing made itself by itself. We don't really need to scare people away. It goes against the philosophy of a nightclub, which is to meet people, so it's a challenge.
SHELI: So does it cost more to stay open for a couple of hours than you’re making?
ZAGO: That's a very good question. I’m not going to lie to you, we did lose money Thursday, we barely broke even on Friday and Saturday, but at least it generates payroll and we can help employees that need to generate income.
SHELI: Do you get the sense that people are comfortable going into a nightclub?
ZAGO: Oh, you have no idea how much people are begging us to remain open. Begging. I know they were driving to Broward from Miami painfully. People don’t care anymore, people want their freedom back. Listen, the difference between us and Disneyland is that whenever you go to a lounge, you don’t go back home to grandma or grandpa. You're an adult and you go back home, and you live alone or to your wife, but you're not endangering anybody else. No one over the age of 65 is going to a nightclub. It's completely irrational.
Zago says the lack of Miami nightlife is not only hurting the respective businesses, but the hotel industry and tourism.
ZAGO: If you remove the nightlife, it’s like removing the hotel life. One depends on the other. Why would you come to Miami if there’s not a nightclub to go to at the end of the night?