Photo by Ryan Spencer via Unsplash

Miami Beach declared a state of emergency, cracking down on spring breakers who officials say are out of control.

A curfew was set for 8 p.m. starting March 20, allowing only residents, workers and hotel guests to drive on major roads of the city overnight. All restaurants, bars and businesses will also be required to be closed by 8 p.m.

“Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN.

The curfew was originally set to last 72 hours, but has now been extended until at least March 30. The city manager Raul Aguila will have the option to extend it for two more weeklong increments through April 13.

“The goal here is to really contain the overwhelming crowd of visitors, and the potential for violence disruption and damage to and damage to property, whether intentional or not,” Aguila said. 

On the night of March 20, despite the mandated curfew, hundreds remained in the streets of the entertainment district well past 8 p.m. Many of the spring-breakers were maskless and in large groups.

Officers began breaking up the groups at 8 p.m. on March 20, leading to increased chaos in the city. Police released pepper balls, a chemical irritant similar to paint balls, into the crowd, causing the crowd to disperse quickly. 

Miami Beach Police said they  arrested over a dozen people by Sunday morning.

Specific implementations according to a release from the city:

  • Curfew is imposed in the “High Impact Zone” of Miami Beach, which includes the area “bounded by” 5 Street, 16 Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Ocean Drive.
  • Eastbound lanes on Julia Tuttle Causeway will be closed to traffic 9 p.m. through 6 a.m.
  • Eastbound lanes on the Venetian Causeway will be closed to traffic 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. except to residents.
  • Eastbound lanes on MacArthur Causeway will be closed to traffic 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. except to residents, hotel guests and employees of city businesses.
  • Ocean Drive will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic except to residents, hotel guests and employees of local businesses at 8 p.m.
  • Other roads within the “High Impact Zone” may be closed at the discretion of city officials.
  • Sidewalk café operations including expanded outdoor seating are suspended in the “High Impact Zone” as of 7 p.m. Saturday. 
  • Restaurants in the “High Impact Zone” can stay open until midnight for delivery only.

Written ByHaley Weger

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