Miami Beach Cracks Down on Cafes Violating Ordinance

An empty sidewalk next to six restaurants on Ocean Drive is an unusual sight.

But it’s one way the City of Miami Beach is trying to combat fraudulent pricing and false advertising at local establishments.

The city has made the cafés clear the public space for 24 hours following a new code of conduct. The ordinance, passed at the beginning of October, bans establishments from showcasing misleading advertisements and hounding customers.

“We’ve received a lot of complaints from visitors of Ocean Drive, including our residents, about the very aggressive hawking and solicitation of maître d’s and waitresses and waiters on Ocean Drive as well as other conduct,” said City Manager Jimmy Morales.

“We created a code of conduct that says that if you want a sidewalk cafe, you have to [] adhere to certain rules. One of them is no hawking.”

Some potential patrons are against the so-called hounding. Others say they’re fine with it as long as it’s done in moderation.

“I understand they’re trying to get people in. But uh, you know, really, if they have sound marketing practices, they wouldn’t have to do that,” said Chris Simmons, a tourist.

Some business owners say the ordinance is a violation of their free speech and their right to due process. Some are looking at their legal options.

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