MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – The City of Miami Beach will enforce an 8 p.m. curfew in South Beach’s entertainment district and block most eastbound traffic to the city starting at 10 p.m., officials said.
Interim City Manager Raul Aguila, who announced the emergency measures alongside Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber at a press conference, Saturday afternoon, said they will go into effect Saturday night due to overwhelming spring break crowds.
“All restaurants and bars and other businesses must be closed no later than 8 p.m.,” said Aguila.
Police will enforce the curfew by blockading Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue and Collins Avenue from Fifth to 16th streets.
“Our city right now, in this area, has become a tinder, and we cannot have a policy of simply hoping that it’s not lit,” said Gelber.
The changes will only last for 72 hours, and at that point, city leaders will assess future changes. However, Aguila said he recommends keeping them in place until April 12, or the Monday after the last weekend of spring break.
A countywide curfew extending from midnight until 6 p.m. is already in effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Aguila said eastbound traffic on the three main causeways entering the city — the MacArthur, Julia Tuttle and Venetian causeways — will be shut down from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. with the exception of residents, hotel guests and work employees.
The emergency measures come after weeks of violent incidents, much of it captured on cellphone video, including fights, stampedes, confrontations with police and even a deadly shooting.
“We have to act before one of those incidents happens. We cannot act in the wake of something,” said Gelber, “and that is why, preemptively, we are taking action today.”
City officials have also warned about the possible spread of COVID-19.
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