Packs of spring breakers led the city of Miami Beach to declare a state of emergency Saturday as local officials feared the gatherings would impede efforts to drive down Covid-19 cases.
The city said in a news release that interim City Manager
Raul J. Aguila
had imposed a mandatory 8 p.m. curfew in an area of the city declared a “high-impact zone.” The city also shut down overnight access to some causeways that lead to the island. Mr. Aguila also closed Ocean Drive, the city’s main strip, to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, except for people who live in the city, are staying in local hotels or are employees of local businesses.
Sidewalk-cafe operations in the zone also were suspended, and restaurants were restricted to takeout only until midnight, according to the emergency order.
On Twitter and
Miami Beach police shared photos of themselves enforcing the orders. Still, other social-media users on Saturday night and Sunday morning posted photos of immense crowds continuing to party and running from police.
“Right now, if you’re coming here because you’ve been pent up and you want to let loose and you think anything goes, please don’t come here.”
Spokesmen for the Miami Beach Police Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Florida is one of the earliest states to reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much of the U.S. Restaurants were permitted to return to full occupancy in September. But Miami has grappled with high Covid-19 cases and the effects of tourism.
As of this week, Miami-Dade County had the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in Florida, with 16,000 new cases over the past 14 days in a total population of 428,000. The county has logged over 5,700 deaths since the pandemic began.
Miami Beach Mayor
said on CNN on Saturday that the city welcomed visitors but didn’t want the gatherings to get out of control.
“Right now, if you’re coming here because you’ve been pent up and you want to let loose and you think anything goes, please don’t come here,” Mr. Gelber said. “We’re going to keep order.”
Write to Elizabeth Findell at Elizabeth.Findell@wsj.com
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Source: WSJ – US News