Miami Beach liquor store owner challenges city's plan to ban alcohol sales
MIAMI -- A Miami Beach liquor store owner has filed an injunction against a new city ordinance that limits evening alcohol sales this weekend.
Jorge Zubigaray, owner of Gulf Liquors, said he feels singled out by the rule..
"I feel it's unjust what they're doing to me and all the small liquor stores around here," he said.
The Miami Beach City Commission approved the measure as part of an effort to crack down on spring break violence that left two people dead on Ocean Drive last weekend.
The plan included a ban on alcohol sales between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. Exceptions include places where people can drink on-premises.
"I'm taking it personal for me (because) I sell liquor and those businesses do sell liquor as well and they're allowed to sell liquor and I'm not," he said. "I'm two miles and three blocks away from Ocean Drive."
The injunction filed Wednesday evening by a lawyer for Zubigaray's business claimed the city violated constitutional equal protection rights when it targeted liquor stores for selective enforcement.
In a statement, the city attorney said they have not been served.:
"We haven't been served with any lawsuit, but if and when we are, we will defend the emergency order and the City's right to impose measures intended to protect residents and visitors by curbing package liquor sales that fuel the unruly chaos on the streets," Rafael Paz said in the emailed statement. "Last year, the circuit court upheld a much more restrictive emergency order under almost identical circumstances and we are confident that the court will rule in our favor here, too."
Critics of the city's response to the recent violence, which led to an emergency order to control crowds for a third straight year, include former Mayor Phil Levine.
"As your former mayor, I apologize," he said in a video sent to CBS News Miami. "I deeply apologize that we have such a weak, feeble, spineless government in power today."
Hours before Gulf Liquor's owner filed for the injunction, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber defended the commission's moves that also limit parking in city garages and call for increased police presence.
"We're going to do our best to keep our streets safe," he said.
With help from Gov. Ron DeSantis' office, state Rep. Fabian Basabe said spring breakers will see a surge of 60 Florida Highway Patrol troopers.
"We've got drones," he said. "We've got planes. We've got cameras. If you are coming to play dirty in our city we are coming for you. We are enforcing our laws. The nonsense stops now."
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