A U.S. District Court declined to strike down Miami-Dade County’s COVID-19 curfew after a local strip club sought to stay open past the county’s midnight deadline.
The suit, filed on behalf of the King of Diamonds club, is the second lawsuit filed by a strip club in recent months challenging the county’s curfew.
According to a summary of the case by Law360, attorneys for the club argued the curfew violated their rights under the federal and state constitutions. The club’s lawyers also argued an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis last fall bars local governments from installing such a curfew.
In the ruling against the club, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. deferred to local officials in developing such safety rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In such situations, the Supreme Court and Eleventh Circuit precedents are clear: If the people’s elected representatives are acting in good faith and enacting regulations aimed at combating such crises and maintaining order, the unelected judiciary should defer to those decisions so long as they do not plainly and palpably invade fundamental rights without substantial relation to the government’s stated cause,” the judge’s order reads.
In October, a federal district court ruled in favor of Tootsie’s, striking down the county’s curfew. That ruling did not fall on constitutional grounds. Instead, Judge Beatrice Butchko found the curfew did conflict with the Governor’s previous executive order.
That order, in part, required local governments to allow businesses to reopen. However, the order also allowed local governments to institute certain restrictions, so long as those limits are approved by the state.
After the county appealed the Tootsie’s decision to the federal court of appeals, that appeals court allowed the county to continue its curfew.
In the newest case, Judge Scola referenced that appeals court ruling, stating the executive order did not completely prohibit local action.
Critics of the curfew argue time restrictions for businesses aren’t relevant, as the virus is no more or less spreadable depending on the time of day. County and city officials have also battled over how quickly to reopen the economy amid the ongoing health concerns.