MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Police have dispersed throngs of revelers from the city’s entertainment district for the second consecutive night, hours after commissioners voted to extend an 8 p.m. curfew and eastbound causeway closures until the end of spring break.
Cameras captured rowdy revelers climbing on top of a car off Ocean Drive and stomping on it, several minutes after the curfew went into effect, Sunday night. Some of them held drinks while they screamed and jumped up and down on the sedan.
Minutes into the curfew this happened. Ocean Drive has been cleared out. @wsvn #springbreak2021 pic.twitter.com/OlL6afYJOn
— Sheldon Fox-7 News (@fox_sheldon) March 22, 2021
Moments later, 7News cameras showed damage to the car’s front passenger-side door and rear-view mirror.
Police from different agencies directed the crowd away.
Cellphone video showed waves of partiers flowing off Ocean Drive.
Hours earlier, the party looked as wild as ever.
“Take a look: the crowd is amazing. We’re having a blast,” said a woman.
Sunday afternoon, city commissioners passed a motion to extend the emergency declaration issued Saturday.
“The goal here is to contain the overwhelming crowd of visitors and the potential for violence,” said Miami Beach Interim City Manager Raul Aguila.
The motion states the 8 p.m. curfew in South Beach’s entertainment district will be enforced Thursday through Sunday until the end of spring break or April 11. The main roadways affected are Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue, between Fifth and 16th streets.
The curfew does not sit well for those visitors who planned their weekend getaways in Miami Beach.
“If we can’t go to South Beach, then where can we go?” said a woman.
“Yeah, that’s not fair. We’re on spring break,” said another woman.
As for the MacArthur, Julia Tuttle and Venetian Causeways, eastbound lanes will be shut down from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., Thursday through Sunday. A lane or lanes on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways will remain open for residents, hotel guests, delivery drivers and people heading into work after they clear a checkpoint.
Delivery service, however, will only be allowed until 2 a.m.
“It literally took me three and a half hours to get to my room last night,” said visitor Roslind Clark.
The Venetian Causeway will only be open to residents during these hours.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said this spring break has been like no other.
“What’s been going on in our city for the past month or longer, but certainly over the last month and increasing over the past week or two, has been a real, I think, jeopardizing of public safety,” he said.
He spoke about the crowds on CNN, Monday morning.
“The governor said, ‘Everything’s open, come on down,’ but the problem is that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not in our rearview mirror yet, by any means, and it’s certainly not in my county and my city, so that’s a challenge,” said Gelber. “With this many people coming, it’s sort of a triple threat of too many crowds, too many people acting out and a pandemic, and those three together just create a very challenging moment.”
Current situation on South Beach (8th just W of Ocean Dr.) 15 minutes before curfew. @wsvn pic.twitter.com/DpjvKJ4B8L
— Sheldon Fox-7 News (@fox_sheldon) March 21, 2021
Police were able to disperse the large crowds on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue on Saturday just over an hour after they responded at 8 p.m.
“We pride ourselves on being a city of inclusiveness and diversity, but that does not give anyone the license of the freedom to engage in lawlessness,” said Aguila.
Officials said most of the unruly behavior has taken place in the entertainment district, and it has been fairly uneventful by comparison everywhere else in the city.
South Beach today has been relatively toned down so far compared to the last two days re: crowd size, but the vibe feels like it’s changing a bit. Cops say this guy ran from a traffic stop. This apprehension happened just east of Ocean Dr btwn 4th & 5th St. @wsvn pic.twitter.com/Mo5XxNywyl
— Sheldon Fox-7 News (@fox_sheldon) March 21, 2021
Sunday evening, police took a man into custody after, they said, he ran from a traffic stop.
“I’m on vacation,” said the man, seen wearing a face mask, shortly after he was handcuffed.
More than 50% of those arrested were not Florida residents, officials said.
“We are attracting all sorts of folks from all over the country. When you look at the people here, they aren’t residents. They’re not even county residents,” said Gelber.
Police have made over 1,000 arrests from Feb. 3 until Saturday.
“Close to 400 [arrests] were misdemeanors,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements.
“We are going to see the arrest numbers continue to increase. It is not something we are proud of,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
“What’s alarming to our staff is the amount of firearms we’ve uncovered,” said Clements.
Monday afternoon, police reported they have seized 120 firearms since Feb. 3.
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