South Beach to Go Into Curfew Following Shootings During Miami’s Busiest Week
By Julia Echikson March 24, 2022 6:14 pmreprints
Miami Beach officials have imposed a state of emergency and a range of restrictions to curb the excessive revelry of South Beach’s annual spring break bacchanal.
“We don’t want spring break,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said this week. “We can’t endure this anymore.”
A curfew and a ban on alcohol sales will go into effect Thursday across South Beach, in response to violence that erupted last weekend when two separate shootings in the city injured five people. Unruly crowds of partygoers on Ocean Drive and nearby streets have also sparked concern.
Though the measures are in place for this week only, Miami Beach commissioners have said they could extend them for next weekend. But critics have said the restrictions mostly target young African Americans and echo the city’s past racist laws.
The curfew will begin each night at midnight and end at 6 a.m. the following morning, from Thursday until Monday, as part of a state of emergency order that the Miami Beach commissioners unanimously agreed to Tuesday night. Only hotels and emergency services will be allowed to remain open past the curfew. The ban on alcohol sales will commence at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Some businesses, including David Grutman’s Story nightclub, which had planned a slate of events, will close this week — traditionally one of the busiest in Miami’s calendar.
Not only is it spring break season, when droves of college students come down to party, but Ultra, the biggest festival of electronic dance music in the country, will return this Thursday after a two-year hiatus. During the so-called Miami Music Week, a slew of DJ events are scheduled across Miami.
The orders come as a flock of billionaires has relocated to Miami Beach since the start of the pandemic, opening offices and snapping up island real estate.
Miami Beach is attempting to wash away its hedonic image and rebrand as a family and business-friendly district. In an effort to curb the year-round partying, Gelber has led a campaign to move up the last call time for alcohol to 2 a.m. from 5 a.m. over the past year.
The events of the past week are somewhat of a replay from last year when Miami Beach officials enacted a state of emergency order, closing two major bridges, as crowds swelled in and around Ocean Drive.
Over the six-week period in 2021, the Miami Beach Police Department said it arrested more than 1,000 people, seized more than 100 guns and issued more than 1,100 traffic tickets.
Julia Echikson can be reached at Jechikson@commercialobserver.com.