MONDAY, March 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Miami officials on Sunday voted to extend an 8 p.m. curfew in South Beach to try to control unruly spring break crowds that have become a threat to public safety.
More than 1,000 arrests have been made as people gather in large numbers, refuse to wear masks, fight in the streets and destroy public property, CBS News reported.
After days of partying, including several confrontations with police, Miami Beach officials enacted a curfew Saturday from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m., forcing restaurants to stop outdoor seating entirely during the three-day emergency period, and encouraging local businesses to voluntarily shut down.
More than half of the more than 1,000 arrests made were from out of state, said City Manager Raul Aguila, adding many are coming “to engage in lawlessness and an anything goes party attitude.” He also noted that the crowds weren’t eating at restaurants or patronizing businesses generating badly needed tourism dollars, instead gathering by the thousands in the street, CBS News reported.
Officers dispersed pepper spray balls Saturday night into a defiant, but mostly non-violent crowd, refusing to submit to the curfew that had been enacted four hours earlier. Some people responded by jumping on top of cars, twerking and throwing money into the air.
The curfew, which was originally enacted Saturday from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m., could extend into April if needed, city officials said.
Miami officials emphasized that this isn’t a typical spring break crowd in that it’s not college students, but adults looking to party in one of the few states open during the pandemic, CBS News reported.
Local officials have struggled to enforce COVID ordinances since Florida has no statewide mask rule, limits on capacity or other such restrictions.
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