Tourists have been receiving messages on their phones warning them to “vacation responsibly or be arrested."
Miami is cracking down on the spring-break crowd partying in the state after declaring a state of emergency in the wake of the rising Coronavirus cases. Huge crowds without masks have forced the state to swing into action and intervene to keep a check on the pandemic. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber announced an 8 p.m. curfew for the downtown entertainment district while Miami Beach imposed an emergency 8 p.m. to 6 a.m to clear the crowds, reported The Huffington Post. "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,” said Gelber. Alcohol has been forbidden on the beach. More than 1,000 arrests have been made since February in the city, with at least half of them being out-of-state-residents.
Gelber said the crowds had resulted in 1,000 new infections of coronavirus each day and with 50 to 100 people being hospitalized each day. Videos circulating on Twitter showed partygoers drinking from open containers and dancing on top of cars. Cops cracked down on crowds that refused to adhere to the curfew, firing pepper balls at them. Police managed to clear out the streets and turned away cars approaching the streets. The Miami Beach Police Department then posted a photo of a cleared Ocean Drive. Tourists have also been receiving messages on their phones warning them to “cacation responsibly or be arrested."
Gelber also reminded the raucous crowd that they were causing more harm than good by visiting the state at this time. “You cannot pay our community to endure the kind of inappropriate and improper conduct that we’ve been seeing,” said Gelber. The decision to impose a curfew was taken following a vote by City commissioners. A 72-hour state of emergency order was put in place on Saturday, with the possibility of it being extended till mid-April. “We are quite simply overwhelmed,” said City Manager Raul Aquila. He said crowds were turning downtown Miami Beach into a “rock concert, You couldn’t see pavement and you couldn’t see grass.”
Today’s center of the #COVIDIOTS universe is Miami Beach, Florida. pic.twitter.com/Wo8JeNfDFa— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) March 21, 2021
Gebler also questioned the 'type of crowd' that has been visiting the city, claiming that they are not college-age students as is often the case. “I don’t see this is a sort of spring break thing, because I don’t think these are college kids,” said Gelber, reported NBC News. “I think it changes the nature of what we’re in front of here. I think there are very few places that are open as we have been and as our state has been open. And there are even precious fewer places as beautiful as ours that is open.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been vocal about keeping the state open, agreed to help provide Florida Highway Patrol reinforcement and Florida Department of Law Enforcement resources for the city, said Gelber. Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements also said there was a sharp rise in the number of firearms being seized from the crowd. “We've let our officers know that the frequency by which they're encountering these weapons on the street is probably greater than we've seen in five years,” said Clements.
The Miami Beach curfew isn’t going so well pic.twitter.com/ixkuVLqc5v— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) March 21, 2021
A popular Clevelander South Beach hotel said it was shutting its bar and restaurant for a while because of the huge influx of crowds. “One reason for our prominence and long-standing reputation has been our focus on the safety and well-being of our staff and patrons,” said the hotel said in a statement, reported Yahoo News. “Recently, we have grown increasingly concerned with the safety of our dedicated employees and valued customers and the ability of the City to maintain a safe environment in the surrounding area.”
Cover image credit: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Cliff Hawkins, (R) Joe Raedle