For many revelers heading to Miami for their spring break, a grand time was expected. After a weekend of more curfew violations, the number of those arrested reached a grand.
Miami Beach surpassed 1,000 over the past few days as officials continued to stay out late and discourage those who are breaking the 8 p.m. curfew.
More than 500 of those who were arrested were from out of state, according to Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila, pointing to what he believes is the main reason for their presence: “to engage in lawlessness and an ‘anything goes’ party attitude.”
City officials voted to extend curfews and closures at the popular tourist destination through April 12, inconveniencing local residents, who now are experiencing traffic jams of up to four hours.
The traffic tie-ups are exacerbated by the police having to close bridges to dissuade crowds from gathering.
And it’s not like this is providing a big economic boost, either.
Aguila said the crowds weren’t spending money in restaurants or local businesses; they largely are only congregating in the street. Worse yet, some of the fighting and unrest also includes destroying restaurant property.
Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said the curfew extensions became among the only options.
“We couldn’t go on any longer,” Clements said during a meeting Sunday with city officials, defending the curfew. “I think this was the right decision.”
The restrictions include no alcohol at the beach, and no sales of alcohol after 10 p.m. Tourists received cellphone texts warning, “Vacation Responsibly or Be Arrested.”
The city reportedly lost billions in revenues because of the pandemic last year, which basically canceled everyone’s spring break and, eager to bring those dollars back, Miami’s tourism industry spent $5 million on its biggest national advertising campaign in 20 years.