(Miami) Authorities imposed an emergency curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Miami Beach after the rallies escalated.
Authorities reported that youths taking advantage of the “Spring Break” looted restaurants and clashed in the streets as thousands of people gathered without masks or physical space.
At a press conference, city officials blamed crowds of out-of-control vacationers for tightening the curfew, which goes into effect Saturday night in South Beach, one of the nation’s most popular party venues.
Tourists and hotel guests are advised to stay home during curfew.
It is not known how long it will remain in effect, but Interim City Director Raul Aguila told me Miami Herald He recommends keeping the rules in effect at least until April 12th.
A district-wide midnight curfew has already been imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The number of these crowds is in the thousands,” said Raul Aguila. “We are at full capacity.”
Raul Aguila, who read a statement issued by the city, said that no pedestrians or vehicles will be allowed into the restricted area after 8 pm, and all businesses nearby should be closed.
The curfew comes as a popular pub, Clevelander South Beach, announced it was temporarily suspending all restaurant operations until at least March 24 after crowds crowded Ocean Drive, sparking street fights.
Media reported that a nearby restaurant had tables and chairs destroyed in a fight.
Local authorities and businesses have struggled to strike a balance between welcoming visitors to boost the economy and keeping people safe amid the pandemic.
Tourism is the largest industry in Sunshine State, with more than $ 91 billion in 2018, and last year’s spring break was one of the first major economic losses to the epidemic when beaches across Florida were closed.
At the time, scenes of students celebrating without a mask were spreading on social media. Tourism officials in Miami say billions of dollars were wasted in those three months of last year.
The city’s tourism arm just spent $ 5 million on its biggest national ad campaign in 20 years.
Local authorities banned alcoholic beverages on the beach, as well as selling alcohol after 10 p.m. in order to limit partying.
The city even sent messages to cell phones for tourists to urge them to act responsibly.
“Spring break in Miami Beach may be a great rite of passage, but only if you plan to follow the rules. If not, you may also stay home and save yourself the legal costs,” the post says.
But local authorities have struggled to enforce the sanitary rules.
With Republican Gov. Ron DeSantes’ pro-business stance, Florida does not mandate wearing masks statewide, and there is no capacity limit at facilities.
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