The mayor of Miami Beach said hundreds of people were arrested and at least two police officers were injured this weekend while thousands offlocked to the popular South Florida destination, ignoring COVID-19 security protocols.
On Friday, the Miami Beach Police Department tweeted that officers were forced to use pepper balls to disperse a “very large” disorderly crowd while detaining a subject. Two officers were taken to hospital for minor injuries after the incident and were discharged on Saturday morning.
“What happened was that a large crowd gathered at some point, there were people who stepped forward and walked into the crowd and started throwing money into the air, causing a larger crowd to gather,” the police chief said. from Miami Beach, Rick Clements, to CBS Miami.
On Saturday night, 30 more people were arrested in South Beach, the police said.
“We have too many people coming, we have too many people performing and we have COVID at the same time, so it is a triple threat,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CBS Miami. “If you come here to disrupt, then it’s not worth the money to us. It’s not worth the revenue. You can’t pay our community to put up with the kind of inappropriate and inappropriate behavior we’ve been seeing.”
“If you come here because you think anything goes, you are going to have a terrible time. We are going to arrest you. We have made hundreds and hundreds of arrests,” Gelber said.
On March 10, the city of Miami Beach extended its declaration of a state of emergency and emergency measures until March 17, which includes a midnight curfew. Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate and has removed restrictions on restaurants and other businesses.
“I think what we see happening now is that there are not many other destinations that are open, or that are cold, and the airfares are very, very cheap … so we are getting a lot of people coming here,” Gelber told CBSN last week, adding that the city is doing everything it can to promote safety protocols, even though Gov. Ron DeSantis said he couldn’t fine people for not wearing masks. “It doesn’t seem like enough of them even know that there is a pandemic.”
PopularIt has stepped up its police presence, banned opening alcohol containers and setting capacity limits on its beaches in an attempt to mitigate the crowds seen in the holiday period last year.
Gelber said he was not sure the city has been “particularly successful” in enforcing security measures.
“There is no doubt that irresponsible activity leads to hospitalizations and death,” he added, criticizing the governor’s mask policies.
Some colleges and universities have reduced days off or canceled spring break altogether as officials try to curb the holidays that could lead to an increase in COVID-19 infections. Florida facedduring spring break last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, which led to significant spikes in cases.