Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has proposed a 2 a.m. last call for South Beach for 17 days starting March 6th-23rd. These dates also fall not only during Ultra Music Festival runs (March 20th-22nd) but also Miami Music Week (March 16th-22nd) and the Winter Music Conference (March 16th-19th). The current laws in effect allow last call to be set at 5 a.m. According to Miami Tour Company, certain parts of downtown even sell alcohol 24 hours. The outlying cities though, still have a 2 a.m. last call in effect.
The proposed law is to be voted on during a commission meeting on February 26th. If approved the areas affected by this new last call time would include Ocean Drive; Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue from Fifth to 16th streets. As well as the area between Pennsylvania Avenue and Collins Court from Fifth to 16th streets, including Española Way.
Even more recently, a law prohibited promoters posting about events in high tourist-traffic areas during peak months. Simply to control crowd influx. Gelber stated,
“There’s no amount of drink sales that can justify a perilous situation for our residents and visitors. We think this is an appropriate, measured response. My ultimate hope is that it sends a message to people who want to come here. Don’t come to this community if you think it’s an anything-goes place. It’s not.”
Local businesses pushed back on the proposal for an earlier last call immediately. Their common argument against it is quite simple. Lost revenue and tourist traffic. Local hotels rely on the March boom. Lynne Hernandez, the regional director for the South Florida Restaurant Lodging Association mentioned, “Everyone is in this great mood because we just had this Super Bowl and it went so smoothly. Everything is going so well. Let’s not jinx it. We obviously want a safe community,” she said. “We just feel this is a bit rushed.”
Local business owners in Miami South Beach understand the need for a safer environment for all, but they also realize that an earlier 2 a.m. call won’t stop the unstable behavior. They also worry about the hit the tourism season may take and rightfully so. They worry the new possible last call will push people away from staying in the city during Ultra and Miami Music Week.