A Miami Beach restaurant owner says the city should 'remove all curfews' after spring break season as tourism continues to suffer
- Matias Pesce is the CEO of V&E Restaurants which owns and operates several eateries in Miami’s South Beach.
- He says the 8 p.m. spring break and 12 a.m. COVID curfews have been tough on his business and staff.
- Here’s why he wants all curfews to end after spring break, as told to freelance writer Molly O’Brien.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
It’s been tough here in Miami Beach as a restaurant owner during the pandemic. March is usually our most successful month of the year, so we expected a boom in sales this spring to help out after dealing with the pandemic.
We’d been working to prepare for higher traffic, as we’re very accustomed to an influx of visitors. Unfortunately, some crowds have gotten out of control.
The huge influx of out-of-state young people and spring breakers became a huge problem. The officials ruled that through early April a curfew will take place Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m. During the week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and we have regular operations with closing at 12 a.m.
As a business, we’ve been heavily impacted as people are deciding not to come to South Beach. I’ve been in touch with local hotels here — they’re telling me that every day they’re getting cancellations for future reservations.
You can see and feel that South Beach and Ocean Drive have less people now.
It’s like the low season in the middle of high season.
Since the first weekend with the new curfew, we’ve experienced 40% reduced sales, which has been difficult on top of dealing with the pandemic.
Before the spring break situation, we’d been working together with the officials and the mayor and the landlord and business operators to create an enjoyable experience for visitors. But it turned into a situation where we needed to enforce rules as an important way to protect people.
Still, as a business our concern is also about the future reservations that are getting cancelled and visitors deciding to go to another place. It’s probably going to be this way until the end of spring break — right now through April 12. It’s going to be two hard weeks for businesses here.
We’re doing our best to move forward despite the hit to business.