Friday, September 24

Covid-19: Miami Beach decrees a curfew and a state of emergency before the uncontrollable crowd of tourists | Society

Thousands of people drink and have fun without masks or distances on the streets of Miami Beach, this Saturday.
Thousands of people drink and have fun without masks or distances on the streets of Miami Beach, this Saturday.CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH / EFE

Like every year when the spring season begins, thousands of college students set out on the road to Florida to celebrate their summer vacation. spring break [descanso primaveral] and take advantage of the good weather in the south of the country. After many days of intense partying in the Miami Beach (Florida) area, the mayor of the city, Dan Gelber, has decided to declare a state of emergency and establish a curfew that came into effect last Saturday. “The crowds that have come to the city are more than we can handle,” said the councilor. In his opinion, the students who travel to the south of the country arrive “with the intention of not complying with the rules, generating a level of chaos and disorder that is impossible to control by the authorities.”

Thus, from eight in the afternoon (US East Coast time) the curfew is established in the Miami Beach area where restaurants, bars and entertainment venues are concentrated. Several streets and accesses to the place will be closed to people who do not reside in the place from 9:00 p.m., “at least for the next few nights,” the mayor reported.

Since the covid-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, this is the second consecutive year that Miami has been forced to cut the spring parties of university students due to the ravages and lack of compliance with basic measures to stop the pandemic , which has already claimed more than 540,000 people in the United States, more than 32,000 of them in the State of Florida.

The images of completely uncontrolled adolescents, drinking, without masks, without practicing the minimum safety distance, have been the last straw that has filled the patience of the authorities and has led them to make such a draconian decision, something that the usual residents of the county of Miami have celebrated. For example, the three bridges that connect the island of Miami with the mainland will be closed to traffic from ten at night to six in the morning. Only residents, workers and hotel guests will be able to access the key. “This is something as simple as a matter of public safety,” declared the acting city administrator, Raúl Águila, when announcing the measures.

Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements has considered that the situation had become untenable. “Last Thursday hundreds of people caused a stampede and threw chairs as weapons,” he explained as an example. “We expected it to be something that would happen only once, but it happened again another night and a young woman was injured,” he continued.

John Pérez, 22, has been very outraged by the decision, as reported by the AFP agency. A student from Texas, Pérez was having a few beers with a group of friends on the sand of the beach. The curfew decision, declared the student, “had been made despite the efforts of the police to prevent the consumption of alcohol on the beach.”

“Since last February 3, the Miami Beach police have been on alert and with their staffing increased since the weekend of the Super Bowl, which was followed by the holiday of Presidents’ Day and then spring break” Ernesto Rodríguez, a spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD), said in a report this week. Since the Super Bowl, officers have made more than 900 arrests in the city, “more than 300 of which were for serious crimes,” according to the report.

The mayor has been very blunt: “If you come here because you’ve been locked up at home and you want to let go, and you think anything goes, don’t come,” Gelber told CNN. “We have extra police everywhere, people will be arrested, and we have. We will keep order. If you come here to lose consciousness, go somewhere else. We don’t love you ”, he warned.

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