Miami Beach Extends State Of Emergency 3 Weeks To crackdown On spring break Crowds
Miami Beach extended a state of emergency for a further three weeks on Sunday to continue a crackdown on out-of-control respite crowds amid fears of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Maskless mobs of vacationing college students have packed streets, restaurants, and bars of downtown Miami Beach, with activity — and a few violence — hitting a fanatical peak in the dark.
Mayor Dan Gelber instituted a 72-hour state of emergency on Saturday. Officials voted unanimously to increase it from Thursday through Sundays until a minimum of April 12 at a special City Commission meeting on Sunday.
It mandates an 8 p.m. curfew for the city’s downtown “entertainment district” and severely restricts traffic in sections during the nighttime “high impact period,” including shutting down the most drag of Ocean Drive.
City Manager Raul Aguila said the measures seek to “contain the overwhelming crowd of tourists and therefore the potential for violence, disruption and damage to property” during respite, The Miami Herald reported.
Local police have remodeled 1,000 arrests since early February; 51% of these arrested were from out of town. a minimum of five officers are hurt on the work, the department said.
“These aren’t your typical spring breakers,” Aguila said.
Gelber said at a news conference Saturday that “at night, there's no doubt that it becomes an area that feels ... out of control. You see things that you simply realize shouldn’t happen, and no community should need to endure.” Aquila said then that the crowds were “overwhelming.”
Police rushed, tackled, and fired pepper balls at hard-partying crowds the primary night of the curfew Saturday to clear the streets and arrested a minimum of a dozen people, CNN reported. Fifty people are arrested since Friday, police report.
Critics and a few city leaders believe college crowds are particularly drawn to Miami Beach this year due to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) lax COVID-19 regulations.
DeSantis himself break away on St. Patrick’s Day last Wednesday at packed Culhane’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville without a mask and ignoring social distancing regulations as he posed for photos.
Florida has already racked up 2 million cases of COVID-19, and quite 33,000 deaths. The national price from the pandemic is quite 540,000.
Some critics on Twitter suggested the spring breakers head to the governor’s mansion to party. But it’s closed to the general public due to the pandemic.
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