The Mayor of Miami says he wants to another curfew over the Memorial Day weekend after the spring breakcrowds caused mayhem in his city.
‘I’m supportive of a curfew because I think we need to act before Memorial Day, not in the midst of it,’ Mayor Dan Gelber said to the Miami Herald.
Recently, crowds descended upon Miami Beach, sparking both unrest and fears of a COVID-19 super-spreader event. It led to an 8pm curfew being imposed on March 20.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is leading the call for a Memorial Day curfew in his city
That curfew is currently expected to remain on place on the weekends, though the midnight curfew in the county for the rest of the week will be lifted on April 12, which coincides with the end of spring break.
A state of emergency declaration in the city is set to expire on April 7.
Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a celebratory holiday in the United States, with gatherings and concerts, particularly outdoors at beaches.
In Miami Beach, the annual Hyundai Air & Sea Show is scheduled for the weekend, as is one outdoor concert at Pride Park.
Crowds were large and wild during spring break in Miami Beach (Pictured: Ocean Drive on March 28, where spring break attendees were enjoying the party)
The large crowds of people and students sparked COVID-19 fears (picture from March 18)
It also led officials in the city to impose a temporary 8pm curfew (picture from March 27)
Gelber is facing resistance from other city officials who do not want to see a new curfew imposed for the holiday weekend.
‘There’s no justification,’ Commissioner Ricky Arriola said.
‘[I]f the County is no longer requiring the curfew as a health and safety measure, then I have reservations with recommending that the City adopt a curfew,’ said Interim City Manager Raul Aguila.
Aguila previously expressed support for a potential holiday curfew, abandoning Gelber’s stance.
Rowdy spring breakers enjoying the party on March 27, a relatively tame weekend
Some city officials don’t believe the curfew will be necessary (picture from March 27)
Pictured: Police escorting people off Ocean Drive as curfew went into effect on March 27
The call for a potential curfew came after over 1,000 arrests were made during spring break in Miami Beach, from February 3 to March 22, the end of the wildest weekend in the city.
Officers in bulletproof vests fired pepper spray balls to try to break up crowds on that Saturday night, the first with the curfew.
Police and partiers clashes along Ocean Drive and in other areas throughout the weekend.
The beach is expected to be a hot spot on Memorial Day weekend (picture from March 30)
It will be weeks before the COVID-19 effect of Spring Break becomes clear (from March 27)
USA Today reports that 398 of the 1,050 arrests over the six-week period were for felonies.
Additionally, over 100 firearms were seized during that period.
‘Over the last weeks and longer, our city has been one of the only true destination cities open for business anywhere,’ Gelber said in a statement at the time.
‘While most of our guests come here for all the reasons we hope they do and follow rules, there are clearly too many coming here with other ideas. And some are bringing guns.’
The past two weekends of spring break have seen significantly calmer crowds than the rowdy March 20 weekend, though there was an incident of a man yelling ‘F*** 12’ – a term for the police – while sticking up his middle finger the last weekend of March, according to the Miami Herald
The man then leaped on a police car before running away, with the police choosing not to pursue him.
There were no revelers in sight at the same police car by 8:30pm the evening of March 28.
There have been over 2 million coronavirus cases in Florida, with 33,710 deaths of residents
Meanwhile, the United States is nearing 31 million cases and is past 555,000 deaths
The Memorial Day crowd size could end up being even larger, however, as the holiday is concentrated over one weekend, rather than several weeks.
It could also renew concerns of COVID-19 spread in a state with limited coronavirus restrictions.
The effect of the spring break crowds on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations likely won’t become clear for another week.
‘Obviously, COVID isn’t over by any stretch and it’s a little disconcerting that people seem to think it is,’ Mayor Gelber said.
Florida recorded 3,480 new cases on Monday, as well as 36 deaths.
There have now been 2,085,306 COVID-19 cases in Florida, with 33,710 residents dying from the coronavirus.
In the United States, there have been over 30.7 million cases of COVID-19, with the death toll exceeding 555,000.