Officials in Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale say the upcoming spring break will have a very different feel this year, with rules being strictly enforced amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In Miami Beach, officials said they will be imposing a series of enhanced safety measures during the "high impact period" of spring break from Feb. 22 through Apr. 12.
Miami-Dade County's curfew will remain in place from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily, and capacity limits will be placed on high-traffic public beaches.
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All package liquor sales will cease citywide in Miami Beach after 10 p.m. and after 8 p.m. in the Art Deco Cultural District. All alcohol consumption will be prohibited on public beaches, and coolers, inflatable devices, tents, tables and similar objects will also be prohibited on beaches.
There will also be some access restrictions on certain city streets, and there will be a suspension and closure of all or part of sidewalk café operations located in the Art Deco Cultural District at 12 a.m. each night. There will also be a limitation on live or amplified music at properties located from 9th Street to 11th Street on the west side of Ocean Drive.
Police will also be using license plate readers at access points to Miami Beach. There will also be enhanced staffing for police, fire rescue and code compliance.
"To anyone who plans to visit our urban island this year, you should know that Miami Beach has a rich history of welcoming the world to our beautiful backyard," Interim City Manager Raul J. Aguila said in a statement. "But we have zero tolerance for street fights, theft of any kind and illegal drug use. That simply puts our visitors and residents at risk of serious injury, or worse. If you plan to vacation on Miami Beach, do so responsibly or be arrested."
In Fort Lauderdale, officials said they are gearing up for a typical spring break crowd, and will be cracking down on the typical rules including no alcohol on the beach as well as no tents or canopies on the sand.
One change this year is that ride share drivers will be issued citations for picking up or dropping off passengers along State Road A1A. The designated pick up/drop off location will be the Las Olas Oceanside Park at 3000 East Las Olas Boulevard.
Electric or motorized scooters and other dockless mobility devices will also be prohibited on the barrier island from Feb. 28 to April 18.
Fort Lauderdale will also be limiting live or amplified music on beach property from the 900 block of Seabreeze north to the 1700 block of North A1A.
Police said barricades will also be going up and safety lanes will be used to keep pedestrians safe.
"We understand there’s a lot of angst to get out and enjoy our beautiful weather and our beautiful beach, we’re just asking for cooperation for college students who do decide to come to Fort Lauderdale, and we’re also asking for patience in light of the pandemic that is still ongoing and a very real concern for us today," Interim Assistant Police Chief Frank Sousa said.