Miami Beach commissioners have decided against teaming with a production company to stage sporting events, concerts and outdoor movies for this year's spring break amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioners on Wednesday voted against an item that would have seen the city host curated gatherings such as Thursday Flicks, Friday Concerts and Saturday Grooves.
“We are still open, we just don’t want large gatherings,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
The idea was to stage and organize events and steer young college spring breakers away from freewheeling drinking and partying in the middle of the streets, and at times causing violence. The goal was to try to prevent a possible “super spreader” COVID-19 event in South Florida.
"We were trying to explore programming, alternative events, to try and control some of it happening. I’m not sure it’s going to work, but we were up for it, at least experimenting, but in lieu of Covid, we can’t really do that,” Gelber said before Wednesday's vote.
Restaurants, and the hospitality industry, critical to south Beach’s existence, have bore the brunt of the pandemic. Merchants say they’re eager to accommodate spring breakers.
“That’s what gives life to Miami Beach,” said one server at The Garden House Restaurant, one of the newer eateries on South Beach. "All of the tourists that come to Miami Beach from Atlanta, the Carolinas, from New York. That is what can bring other revenues for other restaurants around us.”
Commissioner Michael Gongora was opposed to the idea.
“It’s kind of like talking out of both sides of your mouth, social distance, wear a mask but we’re gonna spend $1 million to program a big party on the beach so no spring break programming this year," Gongora said.