Miami Beach Declares State of Emergency, Imposes Curfew Due to 'Significant Concerns' About Spring Breakers

·3 min read

CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Crowds at Miami Beach

Miami Beach declared a state of emergency on Saturday as an influx of spring breakers caused concern about a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Citing "significant concerns relating to larger than expected spring break crowds," city officials have imposed an 8 p.m. curfew, which will remain in place through at least Tuesday.

Additionally, all sidewalk cafes and outside dining areas will be suspended for up to 72 hours, with business owners being instructed to temporarily remove all tables and chairs, although restaurants will be allowed to remain open for delivery.

City officials are also urging all businesses in the city's "High Impact Zone" to voluntarily close.

"Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN, noting that the biggest issue has come in the evening.

"It feels like a rock concert, wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks," he added.

CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Crowds at Miami Beach

RELATED: Spring Breakers Take Over Florida amid COVID Pandemic: 'We're Very Concerned,' Miami Beach Mayor Says

Joe Raedle/Getty Images Crowds at Miami Beach

At a press conference on Saturday to announce the new measures, Gelber stressed how "out of control" the city has become.

"At the end of the day, all the policing in the world isn't going to stop something terrible from happening if it's going to happen," he said, according to ABC News. "Our city right now in this area has become a tinder, and we cannot have a policy of simply hoping that it's not lit."

"As we hit the peak – at the peak of spring break, we are quite simply overwhelmed in the entertainment district," added Miami Beach Interim City Manager Raul Aguila. "This was not an easy decision to make, we are doing that to protect the public health and safety."

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At the conference, Gelber noted that while Miami Beach is always a popular spring break destination, the increase in visitors is likely due to the limited amount of travel options this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"People tend to come to the place that is open," he said.

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Gelber, who has expressed concern about the risk that these gatherings could become "super-spreaders," is urging anybody looking to "go crazy" to "please" not visit Miami Beach.

"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," Gelber told CNN. "We have extra police everywhere, we're going to arrest people, and we have been. We're going to keep order."

"If you're coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else," he added. "We don't want you."

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