Miami beach has imposed an emergency curfew from 8 PM to 6 AM due to out-of-control spring break crowds trashing restaurants and gathering in the streets in thousands without masks or social distancing.
The popular tourist spot is facing an influx of spring break travelers as much of the country remains under restrictions because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Spring Breakers Out of Control in Miami
Miami is one of the top U.S. spring break destinations, and with few pandemic restrictions, tourists are acting out of control.
Videos on social media have shown tourists gathering by the thousands, fighting in the streets, destroying restaurant property, and refusing to wear masks.
“Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure,” Miami mayor Dan Gelber told CNN.
“I think it might be a little bit related to just people looking to let loose after being pent up, but some people are coming here with sort of an anything-goes mentality and even if it’s just a small percentage … it’s a small percentage of an enormous amount of people”
New Restrictions Imposed in Miami Beach
The major of Miami Beach has declared a state of emergency for the district, which is the hub of nightlife in the city.
With the new state of emergency having been declared:
- Miami Beach’s entertainment district has a curfew from 8 PM until 6 AM
- All outdoor dining and cafes in the entertainment district are closed from 7 PM until 6 AM
- Eastbound bridges to Miami Beach are closed from 9 PM until 6 AM, with exceptions for residents, hotel guests, and employees of business establishments.
Hotels in Miami Beach do not have to close down, but guests are being asked to stay on hotel premises after curfew.
On Saturday, Gelber said the 8 PM curfew and road closures would be in effect until Tuesday.
However, today the Miami Beach City Commission declared the curfew would stay in effect until at least March 30.
The commission said city manager Raul Aguila will have the option to extend it for two more weeklong increments through April 13.
In a statement, Aguila said “The goal here is to really contain the overwhelming crowd of visitors, and the potential for violence disruption and damage to and damage to property, whether intentional or not”
“Unfortunately, this is the last thing that I had wanted to do. But this is a spring break like no other.”
“Not all people that visit Miami Beach are bad, come to Miami Beach with the intent of breaking the law, and disrupting our quality of life. But this is a different situation, and it calls for drastic measures.”
The major has also said they have implemented “zero tolerance for all of our ordinances,” which means Miami Beach Police are making arrests for having open containers and more.
Police in Miami Beach said they have arrested at least 12 people following the start of the curfew.
Covid-19 in Florida
Florida has taken a different approach than other states when it comes to restrictions related to Covid. There is no statewide mask rules or limits on capacity, and the popular tourist destination has opened its doors to travelers.
Governor Ron DeSantis has called the state an “oasis of freedom” during the pandemic. He declared Florida fully open in September 2020, allowing restaurants and bars to operate at 100% capacity.
While Miami is an appealing place for travelers because of its warm weather and open businesses, the city is still dealing with a pandemic. There are still over 1,000 infections reported daily – the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in Florida.
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