Miami Beach to lift weekend curfew for last week of spring break, following waves of violence
Mayor Dan Gelber says imposing a curfew is a "last resort," not a "first resort."
Miami Beach will not have a curfew this weekend, following weeks of rowdy Spring Break crowds getting into late-night armed and drunken brawls that led city officials to shutter the south Florida resort by midnight.
Mayor Dan Gelber made the announcement Tuesday following a call with the city's Chamber of Commerce.
"It won't happen this weekend unless there's some metric or something happens that changes our mind," he said. "We're not viewing it as the first resort, I think we had this as the last resort. Hopefully it will be tamer, there's less colleges on break, typically April is better than March."
A midnight curfew was instituted last weekend following shootings that injured five people in the South Beach area last week. The violence also prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.
"I know from a PR point of view it's not terrific to have an emergency declaration, but honestly if there was another route we would have taken it but I just don't know that there was on," Gelber said.
"I'm never happy with Spring Break because it just doesn't seem to flow easily, and I don't like having to worry every evening when I fall to sleep and I'm wondering who's gonna wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me about something that happened."
He also said: "I think the challenge is always gonna be when your city is a venue for a rite of passage for young people you get conduct that is very hard and inconsistent with a residential community."
This is the second year in a row that the city has declared a state of emergency during Spring Break.
Though business owners in South Beach understand the decision of the mayor to temporarily apply a curfew, they have been determined to get back to normal as their businesses and staffers lose out on late night revenue.
"In the last week it was literally very sad to see people with families and small children going home with not much money in their pocket," said David Wallack, the owner of popular South Beach dance joint Mango.
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