FOR THE WEEK OF APR 05, 2021
Jammed, unruly spring break weeks in Miami Beach stir crackdown and residents' protest
Share a student quote from coverage of spring break anywhere.
Now show what a doctor or public official says about partying this spring.
Tell how you feel about the balance between safety and socializing.
Young spring break visitors caused a rough few weeks in Miami Beach, for residents, police and officials. While much of America remains under Covid restrictions that limit crowds at restaurants, gyms, ballparks and indoor recreation sites, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted most pandemic rules – including a mask requirement in public spaces. At the same time, airlines and hotels offered low rates to fill seats and rooms after a year-long tourism slump. Results included nightly jams, vandalism and other unruly behavior on Miami Beach's oceanfront strip. That brought arrests, closed streets and an 8 p.m. curfew each Thursday through Sunday until April 11.
Dan Gelber, the resort's mayor, says he gets that "people are looking to let loose after being pent up, but some people are coming here with sort of an anything-goes mentality. Even if it's just a small percentage, it's a small percentage of an enormous amount of people." Elected officials and city leaders now are scrambling to avoid a repeat. "We got caught flat-footed this spring break, and we're going to walk right into the punch of Memorial Day weekend," City Commissioner Ricky Ariola said at an emergency meeting recently. More than 100 residents joined a "Take Back the City" protest outside City Hall in late March. They urged officials to discourage or ban street partying on Memorial Day weekend. "We want people to stop trashing our city," said Kristen Gonzalez, a former city commissioner. "We are a tolerant community, but enough is enough."
Problems arose even though many colleges canceled the traditional week-long break due to Covid-19. Some campuses instead offered shorter breaks or wellness days, such as mid-week days off in an effort to curb trips that raise infection risks. But the rise of online classes means students now can do college from anywhere. And in Florida, the Republican governor told a gathering last month: "There's no lockdowns in Florida, OK? It's not gonna happen."
Mayor says: "It's like a triple threat: We've got too many people, too many coming with a desire to go wild and we have the virus." – Dan Delber, Miami Beach mayor
Another official says: "Our state has been publicly advertised as being open, so that's contributing to the issue." – David Richardson, Miami Beach City Commission
Visitor says: "We have a right to vacation. . . . They always trying to put us in a box..” -- Tyanna Gill, 24, of South Carolina
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