Local leaders urge spring breakers to social distance, wear masks as crowds grow

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - As the race to vaccinate speeds up, a big worry to local leaders are the crowds that come with the spring break season.

Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale are cities where spring breakers usually flock to, and local leaders are urging visitors and residents to be safe.

“We are very worried that there’s going to be a convergence of people here and a real problem in the aftermath after that,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

“If everyone follows the rules and stays 6 feet away from each other, wears their masks in the bars, things like that can definitely keep from spreading it,” said resident Yann Meyjonade.

Last weekend, beaches were crowded, and the crowds are expected to grow this coming weekend.

In Miami Beach, officials are restricting the beaches normal open hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and sidewalk cafes will close at midnight. No inflatable devices, tents, tables, loud music or coolers are allowed on the beach.

In Fort Lauderdale, no Lyfts or Ubers are allowed along A1A, which is usually congested during spring break. Barricades have been set up to help keep pedestrians safe.

“Seeing all the gates like that is something I haven’t seen before,” said Meyjonade.

No alcohol is allowed on the beach, as well.

Signage has been put up in hotspot areas to remind people to follow the rules that have been in place for almost a year. These include maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

Some residents said the crowds are significantly smaller in 2021 compared to past years.

“Not near the number of people this year as it was last year,” said resident Roy Moore.

“I was a little shocked at how packed it was, especially last night for being a Thursday,” said visitor Paula Coleman. “Other than that, you know, we’re just kind of getting our feet wet here today.”

Miami-Dade County has a curfew in effect for spring break that starts at midnight and runs until 6 a.m.

Broward County officials debated implementing a curfew but decided against it. They said, however, if any business or restaurant breaks the rules put in place, they are at risk of being shut down.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.