spring break

Miami Beach Not Planning Spring Break Curfew This Weekend: Mayor

"It won't happen this weekend unless there's some metric or something happens that changes our mind. We're not viewing it as the first resort, I think we had this as the last resort," Mayor Dan Gelber said Tuesday

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Miami Beach isn't planning to have a curfew this coming weekend after rowdy spring break crowds and violence led officials to impose one this past weekend.

Mayor Dan Gelber made the announcement during a virtual conference call Tuesday morning with Miami Beach's Chamber of Commerce.

"It won't happen this weekend unless there's some metric or something happens that changes our mind. We're not viewing it as the first resort, I think we had this as the last resort," Gelber said. "Hopefully it will be tamer, there's less colleges on break, typically April is better than March."

Miami Beach's midnight curfew was instituted after Gelber and City Manager Alina Hudak declared a state of emergency following shootings that injured five people on South Beach last week.

"I know from a PR point of view it's not terrific to have an emergency declaration but honestly if there was another route we would have taken it but I just don't know that there was one," Gelber said Tuesday. "I'm never happy with Spring Break because it just doesn't seem to flow easily, and I don't like having to worry every evening when I fall to sleep and I'm wondering who's gonna wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me about something that happened."

Thousands of college students and other young people gather annually in Miami Beach for spring break, and this was the second year in a row that officials have declared a state of emergency in the famed partying spot.

"We have wrangled with spring break for a long time, other cities have wrangled with spring break. I think the challenge is always gonna be when your city is a venue for a rite of passage for young people you get conduct that is very hard and inconsistent with a residential community," Gelber said.

A judge on Friday rejected attempts by businesses to end the curfew, saying the city had a "compelling interest" in promoting a safe environment.

"For the businesses who lost revenue, I’m sorry for that but I just don't think we had any other option," Gelber said.

Staff at some South Beach restaurants and bars said they lost hundreds of dollars in wages and tips and are ready for things to get back to normal.

“They can come back to normality, everybody needs to work,” said Angela, a server at Ocean 7 Cafe.

Mango’s owner David Wallack said he understood the decision to implement the curfew and the dangers happening in the city. But with his staff losing out on money, he said he’s also excited for things to get back to normal.

“In the last week it was literally very sad to see people with families and small children going home with not much money in their pocket,” said Wallack.

The mayor said they intend to have the same amount of police out this weekend, which he believes helped keep things in check last weekend.

"We had a pretty good run because we had an enormous amount of police everywhere," Gelber said. "We really shouldn't need to do all that, that's not really successful to me if the only way it can be successful is if it feels a little bit like a police state."

Certain measures will be in place to control traffic and parking over the weekend, the city announced.

Residents will be able to access the South of Fifth neighborhood only via Alton Road, Washington Avenue and Collins Avenue, and will be able to access the Flamingo Park neighborhood via Alton Road. No access will be available via Washington Avenue.

Parking restrictions along Collins Avenue between Fifth Street to Española Way as well as the 100-200 blocks within this area will begin on Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. through Monday, April 4 at 6 a.m. Parking access to City-owned parking garages will be restricted from 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. starting Thursday, March 31 through Monday, April 4.

Vehicles will be able to exit parking garages at all times. Resident and employee access card holders will be able to access parking garages at all times.

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