Miami Beach, overwhelmed by spring break, extends emergency curfew

A day after South Beach’s spring break oasis plunged into chaos, police struggled to control heavy crowds and score arrests, with Miami Beach officials extending an emergency curfew for three weeks on Sunday Decided to do.

Officials there went from 8 am to 6 am for curfew approval – the closure of Ocean Drive, famous for all vehicles and pedestrians. Businesses are exempted from closing.

The strip, frequented by celebrities and tourists, was a scene of great criticism on Saturday night among police officers who ignored social distancing and masking guidelines, and a large number of police officers who used pepper bullets. . Hours after the curfew was enacted.

The sanctions made a surprising concession to the inability of the city to control the extent to which the city and the state of Florida aggressively stepped in amid the aggressive coronovirus epidemic.

David Richardson, a member of Miami Beach City, said, “I believe this epidemic is very demanding and people want to get out and our state is being openly publicized, so contributing to this issue is.” The commission said on Sunday.

In an emergency meeting, the commission approved maintaining curfew for three more weeks from Thursday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., which is when spring break typically ends. Authorities also placed the bridge’s closed locations on the night of the curfew, with several reasons linking Miami Beach to the mainland.

Just hours after the curfew was announced on Saturday, the city’s decision to send police personnel in riot gear to the South Beach Recreation District, especially from local black leaders, came under heavy fire. He noted that many of the spring breakers that were scattered were young African-Americans.

“This is the same group of children right now in South Padre Island,” Stephen Hunter Johnson, president of the Miami-Dad’s Black Affairs Advisory Board, quoted popular Spring Break Destination chairman in Texas.

Mr Johnson said the city did a poor job of removing the curfew and enforcing it.

“This whole economy is out of vacation,” he said. “But when you have kids who feel they are being polished or polished differently in an eco-post-George Floyd where we don’t back down from that, but we face it, This leads to situations where officials understand that they are being put in an unfair position. “

The curfew was initially imposed for 72 hours at 8 a.m. Saturday in the city’s South Beach Recreation District. On Sunday, city officials unanimously voted to extend the emergency declaration until Monday, with the city manager authorizing it to be extended again.

Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, Has postponed His state lacks epidemic restrictions compared to other parts of the country controlled by Democrats. “If you look at South Florida right now, this place is booming,” Mr. DeSantis said recently. “Los Angeles is not booming. New York City is not booming.”

Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami Beach, recently ended one of the country’s worst outbreaks, and more than 32,000 Floridians have died of the virus. State is also thought of Highest concentration Of B.1.1.7A more contagious and possibly more lethal virus variant was first identified in Britain.

Some people supercharged unusually large crowds over the spring break season by an epidemic, which led to limited socialization. Mr. Richardson, city commissioner, said Miami Beach was facing “much more than spring break, and so we are facing a large amount of congestion.”

Another city commissioner, Ricky Arriola, said in the meeting, “Turning things down cannot diminish the way the city does business. It is embarrassing and it shows that we do not know what we are doing. “

Mr. Arriola also said that since the city is struggling with one holiday, it needs to plan for another. “We caught flat-foot this spring break and we’re going to walk right into the punch for Memorial Day Weekend.”

About 30 miles north of the city of Fort Lauderdale, businesses are monitoring the developments in Miami Beach. “We’re watching it very closely,” Grand Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Lindblade said on Sunday evening. “We will do everything we need to do to ensure that we do not have the same situation.”

Fort Lauderdale dealt with similar spring break problems in the 1980s and early 90s, until the city and businesses decided to make some changes, he said. One big change: Hotels started charging more money for rooms.

The effect, Mr. Lindblad said, is notable. “It is a family-oriented environment and it is very good for our economy,” he said.

Credit …Marco Bello / Reuters

Patricia Mazzi, Christina Morels and Reid Abelson contributed reporting.

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