Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored the legislation that created the new criteria, said after the meeting that while he feels sympathy for the impacted employees, he supports the city’s actions denying the permits.
He noted that the City Commission passed a code of conduct in 2019 requiring business operators to display actual prices for menu items and disclose if gratuity is included in the order. The code of conduct also banned specials boards citywide and soliciting passersby throughout much of South Beach.
At a community meeting Tuesday, Samuelian said bad business practices — like overcharging customers, waving menus in front of pedestrians or having unsanitary conditions — foster a perception of disorder in Miami Beach.
“This bad behavior is feeding an environment that frankly looks chaotic,” he said. “None of this is going to help you attract a mature and diverse audience that we so seek.”
He said that while some business owners have criticized the new policy, the most vocal calls he has received have come from “good operators” who thanked him because they felt like they “were being tarnished” by the bad practices.
“We don’t want to shut businesses down,” he said. “You can’t do it on public land, which is really a privilege, not a right, and we are going to raise the bar on performance on folks that want to make money on public property.”