MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Officials in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach have released their plans for residents and visitors to have a safe Spring Break, as big crowds are expected to travel to the area over the next several weeks despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Spring Break kicks off Feb. 28 and will continue through April 18.

Thursday night, 7News cameras captured a saxophonist playing on a quiet Ocean Drive, the calm before whatever Spring Break 2021 might bring.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the city is ready to welcome the throngs of revelers.

“I think we’re expecting a larger than typical Spring Break,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale leaders said, as COVID-19 case counts continue to decrease across the state, they want to ensure it stays that way as Spring Break approaches.

“We understand there’s a lot of angst to get out and enjoy our beautiful weather and our beautiful beach, but we’re just asking for cooperation from our college students if they do decide to come to Fort Lauderdale,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Acting Chief Frank Sousa.

Uber and Lyft will not be allowed to pick up or drop off riders along State Road A1A, and if they are caught doing so, they will be issued a citation.

The designated parking and drop-off location will be at Las Olas Oceanside Park at 3000 East Las Olas Blvd.

Map of the designated rideshare area at Las Olas Oceanside Park

Fort Lauderdale does not have an open container law, so drinking will not be allowed on the beach.

“No alcohol or containers or beverages are allowed on the sandy portion of the beach,” said Sousa. “They’re allowed to drink, but only in licensed establishments. There is a prohibition of tents being erected on the sand, as well as canopies.”

Additional ordinances that may result in an arrest or a fine include:

  • Possessing, serving or giving an alcoholic drink to a person under 21.
  • Possessing or displaying a fake ID.
  • Refusing to leave or returning to a bar or restaurant after being warned.
  • Causing a public disturbance while intoxicated.
  • Engaging in physical fighting or in violent, threatening behavior.
  • Public indecency.

Sousa said extra safety precautions will be put in place to reduce the spread of the virus, such as barricades along A1A to promote social distancing.

“We will have safety lanes along the beach. We utilized those last year with the onset of COVID, and it proved to be successful,” he said. “There’s going to be barricades set along A1A here to ensure that we have safe pedestrian walkways, and officers will be at each of those entry and exit points to ensure that everyone is safe traversing from business side to the beach side.”

In Miami Beach, Gelber said the city is also making plans for a wild few weeks ahead.

“It’s very hard to project this, but we do know that most other places are closed or incredibly cold or both,” he said, “so I suspect that people are going to be looking to come here. Also, there are some incredible deals on [airfares], that you can get a $40 round trip from New York.”

Gelber and other city leaders have made no secret about their concern over recent criminal activity in the city’s entertainment district and how an influx of college students factors into their planning. It’s why they’ve held two forums in the last three weeks to discuss the need for beefed-up security and advocating for vacationing responsibly.

Parking will be limited in some spots, and a bumper zone will be created between the beach’s more crowded areas and the higher-end South of Fifth neighborhood.

Proposed spring break rules in Miami Beach include:

  • Beach access will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • No alcohol, coolers or inflatables will be allowed on the beach.
  • No tents or tables will be allowed on the beach.
  • Dance and entertainment events on the beach will be prohibited.
  • All sidewalk cafes will be required to close at midnight.
  • City and police staffing will be stepped up to help with the crowds.

“We’ve amplified the staffing right there in the Miami Beach Police Department. Our 400-plus officers will be working extended shifts, extended hours during these shifts, all in the interest of public safety,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “We have a clear message this year for any spring breakers coming to Miami Beach: vacation responsibly, or you will be arrested.”

The traffic barricades along A1A will be going up next week. Police said they plan to begin enforcing the safety ordinances as early as next week. They advise area residents to stay home as much as possible during this period.

The peak weekends of Spring Break 2021 will be the weekends of March 7 and March 14.

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