Fearing another surge in coronavirus infections because of spring break crowds, the city of Miami Beach has proclaimed a state of emergency.
Mayor Dan Gelber announced in a news conference Saturday that an 8 pm curfew will be imposed in the South Beach entertainment district and shore-bound traffic along the city’s roads will also be stopped to curb the increasing numbers of partygoers.
The curfew was supposed to be in effect for 72 hours, but in a last-minute meeting on Sunday, city officials agreed to extend it for another week along South Beach. CNN reported that Raul Aguila, the city manager, may opt to extend the curfew “for two more weeklong increments through April 13.”
30 minutes after curfew Spring Break crowds thinning but Ocean Ave is still packed. Full details on @CBSMiami after the game. pic.twitter.com/BwAYFcKBdh
— Bobeth (@bobethyates) March 21, 2021
Officials stressed that the uncooperative people refusing to wear masks in Miami Beach are not the usual spring break crowds. There are many more restless adults going out and looking to have uncontrolled fun in one of the few states open during the pandemic.
In the conference, Gelber said that “At night, there is no question that it becomes a place that feels…out of control; you see things that you realize shouldn’t happen, and no community should have to endure.”
Despite the announcement, hundreds of party goers have occupied city streets without masks after curfew hours. After revelers refused to leave, the Miami Beach Police Department fired pepper balls — a chemical irritant — to disperse the crowd and arrested over a dozen people.
Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements stated that some crowds have become stampedes, resulting in damaged property. Some party goers have even thrown rocks and bottles at police trying to control the chaos.
Gelber issued a warning for anyone thinking of entering the city for similar reasons. He said, “If you’re coming here because you’ve been pent up and you want to let loose, you think anything goes, please don’t come here. We have extra police everywhere, we’re going to arrest people, and we have been. We’re going to keep order.”