Miami Beach is extending its weekend curfew through April 12, in an attempt to control disorderly crowds of Spring Break revelers.
Florida is seeing a surge in visitors due to its relaxed coronavirus restrictions, and on Saturday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency and set an 8 p.m. curfew, saying the crowds were out of control. The curfew was set to expire after 72 hours, but during an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon, the Miami Beach City Commission unanimously voted to enforce the curfew Thursday through Sunday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., in certain areas every weekend through April 12.
On Saturday night, hundreds of people remained on the streets after curfew, and police used pepper balls in an attempt to disperse the crowds. Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said it was chaotic, and officers were overwhelmed. Over the last two weeks, more than 1,000 people have been arrested — 90 percent from out of town, Gelber said — and several restaurants have reported property damages and diners leaving without paying their checks.
Gelber said the curfew is not discriminatory, and the city is "not targeting a group of people, we're targeting conduct. We don't like these arrests because it endangers officers and arrestees who may be drunk or high and bystanders. The only option we have right now is to make sure we can control our streets. No community should have to endure the videos you are seeing right now."