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Spring breakers hit Miami Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic



Miami beach spring break

On March 20 the City of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew four nights a week (Thursday-Sunday) till April 12. Restrictions to access the area were also put in place, but residents, hotel guests, and employees of local businesses are exempt from the closure. Nonetheless, those restrictions have an impact on those trying to access their homes and workplaces past 8 pm. 

High volumes of traffic are still seen at night, mainly from residents heading back home, and tourists with late flights trying to access the area. Visitors trying to go to Ocean Drive to get to know the main bars and restaurants of the area can only go before 8 pm, and families with planned trips are questioning whether to come to Miami Beach or not. 

April 1. – Officials keep in place bridge closures on the nights of the curfew along several causeways that connect Miami Beach with the mainland.

Only one week ago, on March 23, the Miami Beach Police Department reported 1,050 arrests made since Feb.3, shortly before the city ramped up its police presence due to the popular spring break period that starts in mid-February.

The majority of the arrests (636) were made in the city’s Art Deco Cultural District, which is the same area where most of the felony arrests were made (236). Other breakdowns from the Miami Beach arrests are: 102 firearms were seized; 278 of those arrested involved public consumption of drugs; 126 of those arrested involved public consumption of alcohol; 182 of those arrested involved obstruction and resisting arrest; 438 misdemeanor arrests occurred citywide.

CNN affiliate WPLG reported on March 13 that Miami Beach police officers are working 12-hour shifts. But that was not enough to keep in control the high volumes of spring breakers that came. As seen on social media, a crowd on Ocean Drive refused to submit to the curfew later that evening, and that caused the officers in bulletproof vests released pepper spray balls to break up the party, according to The Associated Press. 

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The city has implemented “zero tolerance for all of our ordinances,”  Mayor Dan Gelber said, which means Miami Beach Police are making arrests for having open containers and more. Starting April, Miami Beach is being highly patrolled by the police and the crowds have diminished. 

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