Hundreds to Protest Against Ocean Drive Alcohol Ban

1 Fort Lauderdale

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Hundreds of people are expected to protest at the Miami Beach City Hall on Tuesday against a proposed alcohol sale ban after 2 a.m. on Ocean Drive.

A Miami Beach referendum will be held on election day, Nov. 7, to determine whether alcohol sales would be prohibited. Many residents and employees who work on Ocean Drive are worried about the effects of the proposal.

Manny Benitez, a service manager at the world-famous Clevelander, said he thinks the ban would be “unfair.”

“I’m worried for my job,” Benitez said. “If this job passes by, I’ve been working here 5 years already. It’s something that affects my family.”

The rally is scheduled to occur during a Miami Beach commission meeting in which an impact study by the Florida International University will be discussed.

Miami Beach Ricky Arriola is in favor of stopping alcohol sales to lower the crime rate.

“Mostly employee of the bars are being paid to be there. It’s a staged rally. It’s for political theater,” Arriola said. “It’s because of the businesses and the kinds of people they attack contributing to the overall crimes on Ocean Drive.”

However, the executive director of the Ocean Drive Association argues there’s no evidence to support the claim that alcohol sales increase criminality, adding that the crime rate will not go down but the economy will.

“Immediately out of the four venues that are closing you’re looking at over 300 people that will lose their jobs,” Ceci Velasco said.