- BBC World News
That’s what tourists brought to Miami Beach, the city’s mayor, Dan Gelber, said on Sunday.
For this reason, local authorities declared a state of emergency in the American city, famous for its beaches, out of concerns that the large crowds that gather for the “spring break” (spring break) represent a risk of contagion of coronavirus.
In Miami Beach there was already a curfew from midnight due to the pandemic, but this weekend the measure was brought forward at 8 at night, until 6 in the morning.
This Sunday it was known that the curfew It will run until at least April 12.
During the curfew there are traffic restrictions, while businesses in the busy South Beach area must close.
“It feels like a rock concert, wall-to-wall people on every block,” Gelber told CNN.
“If you come here to do crazy things, go elsewhere”he added.
Spring break is a period of days off for schools and universities in the US, usually between March and April.
It’s a time of year that draws thousands of students to Florida and other hot-weather destinations around the country.
Authorities warned tourists that “vacation responsibly or you will be arrested” before the holiday period started.
But the Miami Beach area was packed with people holding street parties over the weekend, and many did not appear to be wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
A city official described South Beach, which includes the world-famous Ocean Drive, as “overflowed” by the crowds on Saturday.
“You couldn’t see the pavement and you couldn’t see the grass,” said city manager Raúl Aguila.
He added that the emergency measures were “necessary not only to protect residents, but also visitors, including those on vacation, whom we want to keep safe.”
On Sunday, Miami Beach police told CNN they had arrested at least a dozen people after the curfew went into effect.
The Miami Herald reported that police used pepper spray to enforce the curfew on Saturday night.
Until the measures are lifted, police will prevent pedestrians and vehicles from entering the main party venues in South Beach.
On Sunday, the Miami Beach city commission voted to extend the curfew and other measures for up to three more weeks.
At an emergency meeting, Mayor Gelber told the commission that South Beach had become “one tinder in the last two weeks.”
He said tourists had come to the city since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called the state a “oasis of freedom” of coronavirus restrictions late last month.
Florida remains a hot spot for the coronavirus in the U.S. The state has recorded nearly two million of the country’s 29 million infections since the pandemic began.
The most recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Florida recorded about 4,300 new infections per day on average over the past week.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.