With the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine and re-openings across the country, it may seem like the global pandemic is coming to an end. Nonetheless, social distancing and wearing masks is still of the utmost importance in order to kick coronavirus to the curb for good. But people of all ages have grown impatient of staying at home and have flocked to states where it seems like coronavirus no longer exists.
One of the most popular destinations is none other than Miami.
Miami-Dade County first reopened its bars and clubs in September 2020 after Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed an executive order that ended business closures across the state. Since then, it has become a hub for hundreds of thousands of Americans seeking refuge from their COVID-stricken states, including celebrities and businessmen. According to Yahoo! Finance, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, Jared Kushner and Karlie Kloss, and Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber all have recently purchased real estate in the Miami Beach area.
College students and tourists quickly caught on to the appealing open nightlife scene in Miami Beach and elected to spend their spring break in the South Florida city instead of their typical destinations.
But last week, the influx of Spring Breakers wreaked havoc on Miami-Dade County, specifically in Miami Beach. Massive crowds of tourists packed the beaches and streets, causing the Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber to issue a state of emergency. Restrictions that were put in place included an 8 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district, a series of road closures, and the suspension of indoor dining at restaurants within a popular area.
According to Miami Beach police, 50 people were arrested between March 19 and 21, while about 100 people were arrested the weekend prior. While Miami Beach is normally equipped to handle large crowds, Gelber said he thinks the pandemic has caused a larger influx of tourists than normal.
“I don’t think there’s any question that Covid and people being cooped up and unable to go anywhere has created a pressure that’s being relieved in our city,” Gelber told CNN.
Catherine Pasquella, who is a freshman at the University of Miami, explained how the inundation of college spring breakers has created chaos for students at the university.
“Students at [The University of Miami] are fuming because although we still go out, it has been nothing compared to what has been going on recently,” Pasquella said. “South Beach is too dangerous right now, which is unreal because we used to go there every weekend.”
Local Miami Beach residents are also unhappy with their home being taken over. On March 28 there was a “Take Back The City” demonstration at Miami Beach City Hall to protest the mayhem that spring break partying has brought to the city. The protesters demanded that Mayor Gelber and other officials take action to stop the partying before Memorial Day weekend in May.
Miami Beach resident and political activist Kristen Rosen Gonzalez told station WPLG that the pandemonium hurts her city’s reputation.
“When we get this horrible PR it affects everyone, because people are afraid to come here,” she said. “We welcome everyone to Miami Beach, but we want people to stop trashing our city.”
Pasquella shared a similar sentiment to Gonzalez. “The city is definitely hurting from it,” she said.
The Miami Beach emergency city commission decided unanimously that the 8 p.m. curfew will run for another two weekends through at least April 12. As spring break season continues, time will only tell if the crack down on tourism will ameliorate the turmoil the city has faced.
Brett Chody Trends contributor polo lifestyles 2021