Miami Beach announces curfew, closure of 3 causeways leading into city

Author: CBS Miami and The Associated Press
Published: Updated:
miami beach
Despite the coronavirus, spring breakers return to South Beach and walk along Ocean Drive that is closed to traffic on Thursday, March 12, 2021. Miami Beach officials are imposing an emergency 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew effective immediately, saying large, out-of-control spring break crowds crammed the beaches, trashed some restaurant properties and brawled in the streets. Tourists and hotel guests are being told to stay indoors during the curfew hours. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Miami Beach officials held a press conference on Saturday afternoon to announce a new 8 p.m. curfew for the entertainment district.

Additionally, officials announced the closure of the Julia Tuttle, Venetian causeways and the Macarthur Causeway beginning Saturday night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Interim City Manager Raul J. Aguila said that all restaurants and bars in the entertainment district must close by 8 p.m.

Aguila declared a State of Emergency throughout the City in light of the Miami Beach Police Department’s significant concerns relating to larger than expected spring break crowds.

The measures come a day after the restaurant at the Clevelander Hotel restaurant was forced to close due to a violent incident.

Miami Beach Police Chief Rick Clements said that crowds have been out of control. He added that some businesses had sustained damages.

Mayor Gelber had said for years he’s been pushing to revamp South Beach to a more family-friendly environment and says the increased crime is the result of the party atmosphere that is now synonymous with South Beach.

“We have made this area into an anything-goes area, it’s sort of a come here, play, play, play area instead of a work-play live area. So for me, I want to diversify there, so it’s not just 105 bars opened ’til 5 a.m.”

To help control the crowd and prevent similar incidents, Miami Beach police have increased their patrols and have implemented a no-tolerance policy.

Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said, “In the past 5 1/2 weeks, we’ve seen over 900 arrests here in our city. We issued more than 5,000 traffic citations. Last night alone, close to two dozen arrests were made just in our entertainment district.”

Fifty percent of those arrests are people from out of the state, 374 from Miami-Dade, 94 from Miami Beach, 141 homeless, and 78 live elsewhere in Florida.

Miami Beach police have partnered with multiple law enforcement agencies to help patrol the beach and to help process those who are arrested.

“It’s a dangerous situation for our community. It’s a dangerous situation for officers and that’s why it’s important that we act quickly and utilize tactics like pepper balls to disperse crowds,” said Rodriguez.

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