Miami Beach is on a lockdown of another kind.
The fabled vacation city declared a state of emergency on Saturday to mitigate the overflow and unruly crowds of spring breakers who have overwhelmed Miami Beach.
NBC News reported that Mayor Dan Gelber announced an 8 p.m. curfew for the South Beach entertainment district. He also said shore-bound traffic on the city’s causeways would be shuttered.
Both measures will be in effect for at least 72 hours, the mayor said, while extending the emergency is debated by officials.
“As we hit the peak of the peak of spring break, we are quite simply overwhelmed,” said City Manager Raul Aguila, who added that the crowds resembled a rock concert. “You couldn’t see pavement and you couldn’t see grass.”
Needless to say, it did not go over well.
Thousands of young people defied the 8 p.m. curfew, necessitating Miami Beach Police to bring out SWAT units according to a reporter for The Daily Beast who has literally been in the middle of the upheaval.
State figures indicate parts of South Florida have continued to be hot spots for COVID-19 transmission. The state has surpassed two million coronavirus cases.
And despite great efforts to quell the number of students coming to the famous shores, Miami Beach has not been able to handle the amount of students celebrating the traditional one-week break in March.
On Thursday night alone, along the city’s famed Ocean Drive, police used pepper balls in an effort to break up a restaurant brawl, according to NBC South Florida.
Ironically, the mayor placed some of the blame on the airlines for the crowding.
“There are a lot of cheap flights,” Gelber said. “Last month you could get here from Philadelphia, New York, or Chicago for $50 round trip.”