Miami Beach city commissioners decided to extend the emergency curfew on Tuesday, following two violent incidents in which five people were left injured in two different shootings.
We are “going to implement a midnight curfew, beginning Wednesday night, Thursday morning, at 12:01 a.m., going through the weekend,” said Mayor Dan Gelber. “This isn’t your mother and father’s spring break. This is something wholly different.”
It will cover 23rd Street to the north, South Point Park to the south, the ocean to the east and the bay to the west.
During the commissioners’ meeting, Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements expressed concern over the incidents.
“I’m at my wit’s end trying to figure out how to be able to deal with this crowd with the numbers that are here and with what we are encountering during the policing of this particular event,” he said.
According to Clements, ten police officers were within 10-15 feet of the incident on Saturday.
“We are so lucky there wasn’t a more significant loss of life associated with these events because they were random. The people that were injured as a result of this had nothing to do with any kind of confrontation at all but basically were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The commission also provided the city manager legal authority to prohibit liquor stores and other retailers from selling alcohol in the zone.
The city acknowledges it could face legal action from business owners who benefit financially from the spring break, but commissioners unanimously agreed that keeping residents and visitors safe was the top priority.
Thousands of travelers flock to Miami Beach for spring break each year, and this is the second year in a row that they will encounter a city under a state of emergency.
But, “you cannot balance public safety with revenue,” said Mayor Dan Gelber.