Voters approve 2 a.m. closing time for Miami Beach bars

Voters in Miami Beach resoundingly voted for a proposal to roll back closing time from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. at bars across the city.

The nonbinding referendum was a test of the city’s mood following a raucous and disorderly spring break earlier this year and a general rise in crime.

Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber, who was elected to another two-year term, is now expected to direct the city staff to develop a permanent ordinance rolling back the closing time for bars.

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Bar owners and other hospitality interests in the city’s entertainment district campaigned against the move, arguing it would cost them and their employees. A similar campaign in a 2017 referendum defeated a rollback by a 65% margin. This year, the measure won support of 80% of those voting. 

Gelber was the prime proponent of the rollback, saying it would make the beach safer and set the tone for a different type of tourism. 

“This is what our residents want,” Gelber told reporters at his campaign party on Nov. 2 at the Betsy Ross Hotel.

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