MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The mayor of Miami Beach has unveiled a plan to crack down and rezone the city’s entertainment district after weeks of chaotic crowds and spring breakers, as he also seeks to impose new restrictions on the busiest parts of South Beach.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he has had enough after weeks of trying to get a handle on wild partiers and implementing an emergency 8 p.m. curfew.
Starting on Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m., much of the entertainment district will be closing early. Starting at 7 p.m., all sidewalk cafe operations will be suspended in the “high impact” zones.
“We can’t do this anymore. We can’t sustain it,” Gelber said.
The 12-point plan cracks down and rezones the busiest parts of South Beach — Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington avenues from Fifth to 16th streets — imposes a new last call at 2 a.m., bans oversized drinks and hookahs, restricts rentals popular with tourists and more.
“It’s about trying to create a new South Beach area,” Gelber said. “Getting rid of the noise exemption, more code enforcement, a higher standard for cafes, giving incentives to businesses, maybe boutique offices will open up there, helping urban residential communities sprout out. We have to change this area.”
The new plan comes after spring breakers caused chaos on South Beach and grabbed headlines across the country. Some were seen jumping on cars and partying in residential areas during the chaos.
Dozens of residents rallied in front of Miami Beach City Hall to demand leaders to do more. It is something business owners, like Sherbrooke Hotel owner Mitch Novick, have been pushing for years.
“To do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is insane, and what we do need is new leadership across the board,” Novick said.
Of course, the 2 a.m. last call cut-off has been criticized.
Some residents said the current midnight curfew, imposed due to COVID-19, has done little to reduce crime or stop the party, but some, like longtime resident and career bartender Tania Dean, said more should be done.
“Nothing good happens after midnight,” Dean said. “We need to cut out this cancer. We need to take strong measures. If not now, then when?”
Gelber said he wants the city’s staff to come up with legislation to take to the commission. If the legislation does not pass, he wants residents to put the measure on the ballot for a November vote.
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