Miami Beach officials ordered hundreds of college spring breakers and others from around the world off the beach Saturday evening as part of measures to prevent large gatherings.
The most popular parts of the beach will close to the public from 4.30pm Saturday until March 19 with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declaring that spring break in Miami Beach is ‘over’ after a state of emergency was declared Thursday.
Cases of the coronavirus in Florida jumped by a third on Saturday and now exceed 60.
Two people have died in the state.
A park ranger with the City of Miami Beach stands by as spring breakers leave the beach Saturday after sections of South Beach were closed due to coronavirus concerns
Amaya Herron, a student at the University of Memphis on spring break, left, talks with a Miami Beach police officer after portions of South Beach were closed late Saturday to avoid large group gatherings that could spread the coronavirus
Spring Breakers in Miami Beach ignore the coronavirus outbreak and party, drink and vape at the beach Thursday before the beach was closed down Saturday to prevent large gatherings
The Centers for Disease Control greeted beachgoers with a floating billboard on Saturday that urged sunbathers to stay home if they are sick amid coronavirus concerns
City Manager Jimmy Morales enacted the emergency measures this weekend as party-hungry college students continued to travel to the popular spring break destination, despite the threat of the coronavirus outbreak and the news that President Trump is considering domestic travel restrictions.
The Centers for Disease Control even greeted beachgoers with a floating billboard on Saturday which urged sunbathers to avoid contact with other people who are sick.
Morales went a step further as the cases in Florida began to jump, opening up Ocean Drive to cars and deciding to close public beaches from 7th to 10th street along South Beach from 4.30pm Saturday to limit gatherings of spring breakers.
‘Miami Beach is a popular vacation spot for spring breakers, yet with school closings and expanded spring breaks, the influx of visitors is extremely high,’ Gelber said.
‘It would be irresponsible for us not to limit crowd sizes in these public areas.
‘Not only for our residents and visitors, but for the health and safety of our first responders.
‘We cannot continue to put them at risk by asking them to expose themselves to the possibility of contracting this virus.’
Miami Beach police officers talk to beachgoers on spring break as they were asked to leave
A police officer drives past a closed beach entrance near Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on Saturday after portions of South Beach were closed to the public because of coronavirus
Miami Beach police officers patrol on the beach after its closure Saturday
Miami Beach police officers patrol on the beach during spring break on Saturday
In an email to Gelber, Morales claimed that spring breakers ‘don’t seem to care about viruses’ but that these measures should go some way to cutting down potentially harmful large gatherings.
Police and civilian ambassadors were being called in to implement the 4.30pm closing down time.
‘The idea is to force folks to make decisions to either go into the stores, restaurants or bars, or go back to their hotels to hang out,’ Morales wrote to commissioners.
‘The goal is to avoid the huge crowds that clearly pose both a health hazard and a public disorder risk.’
‘Let’s hope this approach makes a difference,’ he added.
Morales has emergency powers to enforce the closures until March 19.
The most popular stretches of public beach on South Beach will be closed to the public after 5 p.m. beginning Saturday evening under a new emergency measure to tackle the potential spread of the coronavirus, as described in these documents from city officials
Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian added that strong measures were needed to ensure public safety and to curb the spread.
‘It is certainly unprecedented,’ he said.
‘We’re trying to keep people as healthy as possible, and specifically we are being advised by medical professionals that these type of large crowds are not in people’s well being.’
‘This is a public safety issue and we have got to address this,’ he added.
‘I support these measures and I believe it is the right thing for the community and frankly for the safety of these spring breakers.’
As well as beach closures, restaurants and clubs in Miami Beach must, from Friday, restrict their occupancy to 250 people.
You’re supposed to be social distancing: The CDC has advised against going to large public gatherings but that didn’t stop these young folks from living it up
Taking a swig: One party-goer drinks an alcoholic beverage from a plastic bag in an effort to hide it from authorities and greedy folks
Spring Breakers in Miami Beach ignore the coronavirus outbreak and party, drink and vape at the beach last Thursday but come Saturday had been ordered off as the beach closes
Schools and universities across the United States are closing as the coronavirus impacts American’s everyday lives, but that hasn’t stopped young people from partying it up in Miami for spring break.
Photos taken Thursday show scantily clad revelers taking to Miami Beach just hours after the city announced a state of emergency in the midst of the global pandemic.
Gen Zers could be seen pouring cans of Limeritas and other alcoholic drinks on twerking girls in the ocean.
And contrasting the surgical mask and gloves that have become a regular visual, these party-goers sported swim suits and trunks.
Roughly seven people were arrested along Ocean Drive on Wednesday as police got into altercations with spring breakers.
Six of those people were charged with resisting an officer without violence.
Shocking video showed one officer and a woman colliding into each other in the commotion, only for the cop to then choke the woman and kick her down before arresting her.
Florida currently has 45 of the 1,930 cases of those infected with the virus in the United States. Just two of those cases are in the Miami-Dade area
Gelber announced Thursday that City Manager Morales had declared a state of emergency in the city.
The move granted the city managers special powers to close private clubs, limit beach access and install a curfew for the next three days.
Gelber said that under the state of emergency, they city can and will suspend or refuse to pull special-event permits for large gatherings of more than 250 people for the next 30 days.
Included in this time frame are the city-sponsored spring break concerts in South Beach and the Miami Beach Pride festival.
‘To the extent that anybody can declare spring break is over, it is over this year,’ Gelber said.
‘We are the point of an economic engine, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure that we lead the way in this effort.