MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Spring break is right around the corner, and Miami Beach officials want to ensure every guest has a safe experience.
Officials using the slogan “Come on vacation, don’t leave on probation” said they’ve been working to implement a coordinated plan to make sure residents and visitors can enjoy the beaches.
Miami Beach designated March 1 through April 2 as a “high impact” period when they expect the majority of participants to converge on the beach town.
“We started this two or three years ago when, all of the sudden, Miami Beach became a big spring break locale again, and the numbers have just grown year after year after year,” said City Manager Jimmy Morales.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to pack Miami Beach this spring break.
“What we’re trying to do is manage crowds, traffic and obviously, if there’s any crime related to that, but really, more than anything else, crowds and traffic,” said Morales.
“We’ll be enforcing a lot of our rules, like drinking in public and this misconception that smoking marijuana in public is actually legal, which it is not,” added Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
The city released a list of prohibited activities and security measures they will implement during this time.
“We’re limiting what folks can take out on the beach to really just their towels. There’s not enough room out there for these big floats and coolers,” said Morales. “It also makes it more challenging for the police to really monitor what’s happening out there.”
“Listen, we want everyone to come. We know people want to come to have a good time,” added Rodriguez. “We are not here to restrict the fun. We are here to ensure everyone does so in moderation and safely.”
The following is a list of security measures that will be implemented:
- Coolers, inflatable devices, tents, tables and similar structures on the beach will not be permitted.
- The limitation of live or amplified music.
- The limitation of traffic routes to prohibit vehicular access to non-residents and permit access only for residents and those patrons and employees of businesses located in the specific area where traffic routes have been limited.
- The establishment of occupancy limits for different segments of beach property and prohibiting access to those areas that have reached those occupancy limits, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
- The prohibition of any direct or indirect consumption of alcohol on the beach property.
- Continued enforcement of the prohibition of smoking marijuana.
- The implementation of a license plate reader police detail, which may be utilized on eastbound traffic lanes of the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways.
- Depending upon crowd size and in the interest of public safety, the Miami Beach Police Department may close Ocean Drive or a portion thereof between Fifth to 12th streets during peak hours.
- Deployment of Goodwill Ambassadors on the weekends to provide tips and assistance to beach-goers.
Last spring break, people stampeded down Ocean Drive after a fight that broke out led people to believe shots had been fired.
Although it wasn’t long before things went back to business as usual, these kinds of situations are exactly what the city is hoping to avoid.
“We close Ocean Drive for major parts of it so that we can have better control of the situation and provide a more pedestrian-friendly experience for the kids,” said Morales.
The city hopes the measures will help facilitate a smooth spring break.
“We hope these proactive measures will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all,” Morales said. “We look forward to hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors who choose to spend their vacation in the fun and sun capital of the world.”
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