Officials are imposing an emergency 8pm-6am curfew for Miami Beach, effective immediately after hard-partying spring break crowds trashed restaurants, brawled in the streets and gathered by the thousands without masks or social distancing, according to authorities, per the AP. At a news conference, officials blamed overwhelming and out-of-control spring break crowds for the curfew, which was taking effect Saturday night in South Beach, one of the nation's top party spots. Tourists and hotel guests are being told to stay indoors during curfew hours. It's unclear how long the curfew will remain in effect, but Interim City Manager Raul Aguila told the Miami Herald that he recommends keeping the rules in place through at least April 12. A countywide midnight curfew was already in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No pedestrians or vehicles will be allowed to enter the restricted area after 8pm and all businesses in the vicinity must close, Aguila said, reading from a statement released by the city. The curfew comes as a prominent bar, the Clevelander South Beach, announced it was temporarily suspending all food and beverage operations until at least March 24 after crowds crammed Ocean Drive, breaking out into street fights. At another restaurant next door, tables and chairs were smashed during a fight, news outlets reported. Local officials and businesses have struggled to balance courting tourists to boost the economy while doing so safely amid the ongoing pandemic and cities have struggled to enforce COVID ordinances. Under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pro-business stance, Florida has no statewide mask rules, limits on capacity or other such restrictions.
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