As Spring Break crowds in Miami Beach grew over the weekend, a nightly curfew was set which was then extended for three weeks.
The 8 p.m. curfew, set on Saturday night, is designed to tamp down the unruly (and maskless) crowds that had descended on the city's Art Deco Cultural District, according to the Miami Beach Police Department and Reuters, causing Interim City Manager Raul Aguila to compare the scene to "a rock concert."
"All you could see was wall to wall people," Aguila said at an emergency meeting of the city commission on Sunday.
Causeways leading traffic in and out of the city will close at 10 p.m.
Aguila said the partying atmosphere became particularly untenable on Friday night, forcing him to impose emergency powers on Saturday, closing streets in the area. Reports of fights and brawls broke out.
Since Friday, police arrested more than 50 people and confiscated eight firearms, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.
Unruly crowds have been swelling for some time. Last weekend, more than 150 people were arrested in Miami Beach and confrontations between police and beachgoers led to two officers being injured.
The Declaration of a State of Emergency can be extended in one-week increments through April 13, according to the city.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the out-of-control crowds came after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Florida an "oasis of freedom" from COVID-19-era restrictions last month, Reuters noted. Gelber told the wire service the surrounding county is currently seeing 1,000 new COVID-19 cases each day as well as 50 to 100 people hospitalized per day.
While officials throughout the country have warned Spring Breakers to stay home, many have bucked the advice in favor of vacation spots all over the U.S. Since March 11, the Transportation Security Administration has screened more than 1 million travelers every day — over 11 consecutive days — representing the most travelers to pass through security since the pandemic hit.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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