Apr. 15—Hours after Miami Beach city officials met with representatives of the Fontainebleau to discuss the reopening of the hotel’s LIV nightclub, the city announced it would remove a COVID-era noise restriction that would have hampered the club’s Friday opening.
The emergency order, which banned music and live performances louder than conversation level, applied only to businesses with food licenses. The measure went into effect Sept. 29 but now is set to expire Thursday, just in time for the reopening of LIV more than a year since the club closed due to the pandemic.
The city called Wednesday’s meeting with the Fontainebleau after learning of the club’s scheduled reopening, which will feature DJ performances all weekend, Assistant City Manager Eric Carpenter told the Miami Herald. LIV has a food license and thus would be at risk of a 24-hour closure if it played music above ambient levels, a city spokeswoman said.
“It just called to light the fact that we had a conflict there,” Acting City Manager Mark Taxis said in an interview.
Taxis issued an amended COVID-19 emergency declaration on Wednesday, which “removes the ambient level volume restriction applicable to music and live entertainment throughout the City,” according to a press release.
Taxis, who is temporarily in charge at City Hall while Interim City Manager Raul Aguila recovers from minor surgery, called members of the City Commission to ask their opinion before moving to rescind the order.
Despite his concerns about the virus, Mayor Dan Gelber said he did not object to canceling the order after hearing from the city’s legal staff.
“I hope people use good judgment because we’re still seeing plenty of people checking into the hospital,” he said.
Five of seven commissioners reached Wednesday by the Herald said they approved lifting the order.
Commissioner Michael Góngora said the city recommended removing the restriction, and he agreed. Keeping it in place, he argued, would put LIV and the rest of the Beach’s nightlife scene at a disadvantage compared to its rivals across Biscayne Bay. The city has shut down several businesses, including the Clevelander South Beach, for violating the noise restriction.
“I haven’t been in favor of it,” Góngora said.
Miami-Dade County has lifted its midnight curfew and most other COVID rules for businesses, including a measure requiring that music be set lower than 90 decibels, which is still higher than conversation level. LIV owner David Grutman spoke at Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s press conference announcing the end of the curfew.
Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who has long fought the city’s COVID restrictions, said the city made the right move considering residents and tourists have signaled they are ready to enjoy Miami Beach’s nightlife again.
“I support lifting the ambient noise order because we would be the only city in the state with one,” he said.