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A couple of weeks ago, we heard the mayor of Miami Beach warning college students not to take advantage of low airfares and accommodation to come to his city for Spring Break. He cited the fact that the new variants were spreading and that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Things are even worse in Florida because of their despicable governor, Ron DeSantis, not having a mask mandate and making it impossible for local governments to set fines enforcing mandates or capacity restrictions. It’s a mess, and as we’re seeing in Miami Beach it’s a tragedy in the making. There are so many young people gathering in the streets that they’ve set a state of emergency along with a curfew of 8pm. Police have been using pepper bombs to disperse people and are making arrests. So far injuries have been minor, but it sounds dangerous for everyone and like it could have easily gone sideways this weekend.
As curfew struck and police moved to clear Miami Beach’s iconic Ocean Drive on Saturday, throngs of revelers stood shoulder to shoulder, packing the street. In footage captured by local media, people danced on top of cars, some clutching liquor bottles. One man threw out fistfuls of cash.
Then, with sirens blaring and the sound of pepper balls being fired, those in the crowd began to run, briefly causing a stampede.
The chaotic scene played out the first night police enforced a curfew in response to an “overwhelming” volume of spring break visitors. City officials had declared a state of emergency earlier that day, pointing to several instances in which crowds of partyers turned disruptive and violent.
During an emergency meeting on Sunday, city commissioners voted to extend emergency orders imposing an 8 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district and limiting access to causeways leading to the island city. The measures are now set to continue Thursday to Sunday until April 11, the end of the spring break period.
“I have personally had trouble even sleeping at night, worrying about what’s going to happen in the city,” Mayor Dan Gelber said. “And that shouldn’t be the state of any mayor or any commissioner or any manager or any police chief.”
Many of the young people are Black, which makes these punitive actions questionable. I don’t think anyone should be partying and gathering in large crowds at this time, but Florida set up this perfect storm. You know the response would be different if the majority of partiers were white. There’s no answer to this except to point to DeSantis and his utter sh-tshow leadership. While vaccines are available so many people are still waiting for them. Of course young people just want to party and hang out. It’s up to the people in power to set restrictions, not to welcome them with open arms and then pepper spray and arrest them when it inevitably gets out of hand. This country is f’ed up on so many levels. I just hope that the situation calms down and that there aren’t any more scenes like this in Miami Beach.
Florida is now the third state to have over 2 million coronavirus infections.
After party-goers gathered in the streets flouting social-distancing rules, the city of Miami Beach imposed an 8 p.m. curfew in its busiest entertainment district, as it attempts to control hordes of vacationers who have become unruly in recent days https://t.co/ibshpLgOZq pic.twitter.com/UlBEjW0mJD
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 21, 2021
— Bobeth (@bobethyates) March 21, 2021
Miami Beach officials have extended an 8 p.m. curfew for at least another week. The decision followed over 1,000 arrests as unruly spring breakers gathered by the thousands, fought in the streets, destroyed restaurant property and refused to wear masks. https://t.co/texCxkDkpf
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 21, 2021