The Clevelander in Miami Beach Closes Down for Spring Break Over Safety Concerns
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In the middle of the spring break in Miami Beach, the Clevelander decided to temporarily shut down his food and beverage operations.
Known for its fun atmosphere and sports-themed parties, Ocean Drive Resort made the following statement on Twitter today:
“For decades, Cleveland South Beach has been one of the best-known and best-known companies on Ocean Drive. One reason for our notoriety and longstanding reputation was our focus on safety and wellbeing [of] our employees and customers. Recently, we have become increasingly concerned with the safety of our dedicated employees and valued customers, as well as the city’s ability to ensure a safe environment in the area. As a result, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our food and beverage operations in Clevelander South Beach until at least March 24, 2021. We will reassess the situation in the coming days and decide whether to reopen or stay temporarily closed. The Clevelander employees have our full support and receive their full salary during this time. “
The decision to close followed several incidents in South Beach, including one that occurred at the intersection of Eighth Street and Ocean Drive last night. Local 10 reported “hand-to-hand combat” that resulted in injuries that required medical attention and the police arrested three people. Miami Beach Police scattered the crowd with pepper balls.
Jessica Francos, vice president of operations at Jesta Hotels, which operates the Clevelander, says the incident caused a “rush”. “People we storm into Cleveland and trample over some guests and employees,” she says, adding that some parts of the sidewalk have been destroyed.
According to Franco, the Clevelander closed for a short time last weekend after a similar incident on March 12th.
Regarding the decision to shut down food and beverage operations on a Friday afternoon before a busy weekend, Francos admits, “There is a lot of potential lost revenue, but we made a decision that safety is our number one priority.
“We can control what happens in Clevelander, but we cannot control what happens outside,” she adds. “In our opinion, the capacity of the crowd is too big for the police. If something happens on our corner outside of our business, it can have an impact on our customers and employees.”
Recalling Florida’s status as one of the more “open” states in the nation amid the pandemic, she said that “it feels like more people are visiting and they feel freer, free and irresponsible to act. The police, the locals and the companies are the ones who have to deal with it. “
Coronavirus logs also played a role in the decision, according to Franco.
“Every time something happens we have to close our store to clean it up. We did that last night and we decided to only stay closed for a few days. It is very difficult to be a responsible business owner these days.”
In July last year, the Clevelanders voluntarily closed for several months after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The food and drink service at the Clevelander will be closed at least until Wednesday, March 24th. The Clevelander Hotel itself remains open to guests, and a rooftop bar and sports bar are available for hotel guests only. Francos says the Clevelander will continue to pay all of its employees despite the closure.
Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Bar. 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-532-4006; clevelander.com.
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Laine Doss is the food and liquor editor for the Miami New Times. It was featured on Eat Street by Cooking Channel and in the Great Food Truck Race by Food Network. She won an Alternative Weekly Award for her contribution on what it’s like to wait for tables.