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Gay Bar Owner on Crowds, Curfews & Why You Should Still Go to Miami.

When the legendary South Beach’s drag bar, The Palace, which just celebrated its 33rd anniversary in February, began to see intoxicated guests ordering hundreds of dollars-worth of food and drinks and then walk out without paying the bill, owner Thomas Donall knew this was different.

Thomas Donall wasn’t surprised when college students started flooding into Miami, after all, Florida’s southern beach cities are some of the most popular destinations for the 1.5 million spring breakers that hit the road each year. But when the legendary South Beach’s drag bar, The Palace, which just celebrated its 33rd anniversary in February, began to see intoxicated guests ordering hundreds of dollars-worth of food and drinks and then walk out without paying the bill, Donall knew this was different. He Said “The crowds we’re seeing are not our normal spring breakers. It looks like a culmination of COVID-quarantine overload and a stimulus spending spree.” Still, Donall says, he doesn’t support the actions taken by Miami over the weekend, when the city declared a state of emergency, and announced an 8 PM to 6 AM curfew and then sent in police including SWAT personnel. Donali said “I believe the city has failed to take a moment to observe the situation. This could have been prevented if there was anticipatory planning and utilizing everyone in a way that could have helped prevent much of the un-welcomed behaviors. I point blame at the city manager. Spring break is historic in Florida and the city could have planned better.” The dramatic effects on what we are watching happen to our LGBTQ South Beach businesses like The Palace, Twist Nightclub, Axel and Gaithering Hotels and many more is a complex problem.  There seems to be, in Pandemic, no winners, only losers.  But Queer News Tonight reminds our community that this, and Covid-19 will end and better days are ahead.  South Florida will always be the “Gayest Place On Planet Earth.”  And for Tiffany Fantasia and all of our friends at the world famous drag bar and restaurant The Palace, we encourage everyone in our community to make a new visit.  They need our support.

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