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A local adult entertainment company will be operating beyond Miami-Dade County’s curfew Saturday night after a County Circuit judge recently allowed the strip club to defy the emergency orders. Now, Miami-Dade officials say the countywide curfew meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in businesses will be in jeopardy unless the decision is overturned.
On Friday, Judge Beatrice Butchko handed down the decision which allowed the company Tootsie’s to operate past midnight. Miami-Dade County currently has a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m.
Judge Butchko ruled that curfew was illegal since it conflicted with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent emergency orders.
In September, DeSantis moved Florida into the third phase of reopening, limiting counties from enforcing COVID restrictions which prevent people from working.
In a statement, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county would appeal Butchko’s ruling, adding that until the decision is reversed, the countywide curfew would be unenforceable.
“I want to reiterate that if everyone wears masks in public places and stays away from large social gatherings, which can trigger dangerous super-spreader events, we can continue to keep the COVID-19 positivity rate low and not overwhelm our hospitals with very sick patients,” Gimenez’s statement read.
The mayor said the county would still continue to enforce rules on face masks and social distancing. Gimenez then went on to warn of a potential spike in cases near mid-November which have been predicted by public health experts.
“I am asking our residents and business owners to keep your guard up and diligently follow the County’s safety rules to protect our community during this pandemic,” the statement read. “Please, continue to do your part to save lives.”
Two of Miami-Dade’s busiest cities – Miami Beach and Miami – said they would no longer enforce the countywide curfew due to the ruling.
“After Judge Butchko’s ruling, the City of Miami will not continue enforcing the four-month-old county curfew. According to the order, the curfew conflicts with Governor DeSantis’ decree. We are trying to do our best to support our local businesses, while doing it in a smart and safe way,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.
“In light of the court ruling enjoining the County from enforcing the curfew and after consulting our City Attorney, I have directed city staff to suspend enforcement of the curfew in Miami Beach, including the 8 pm closure of liquor stores outside the MXE, pending appeal of the court order,” Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales said.
As of Saturday, Florida’s Department of Health reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state surpassed 750,000.
Miami-Dade had 177,893 cases, along with 3,537 COVID-related deaths.