The city of Miami Beach, Florida, is implementing a curfew after two shootings in the area in what is slowly becoming an annual state of emergency over unruly crowds.
For the past three years, Miami Beach has enacted emergency measures in March as vacationing crowds draw "dangerous and illegal conduct." The city manager announced a curfew Sunday beginning at 11:59 p.m. through 6 a.m. Monday.
This time of year is largely associated with spring break crowds, although city officials have said that in the past few years visitors in Miami Beach have included people who aren't the college students normally associated with the term "spring breakers."
A special commission meeting will be held Monday afternoon to discuss enacting similar measures into next weekend, the city said.
Miami Beach police responded to two deadly shootings over the weekend. The first happened at 10:41 p.m. Friday near 7th Street and Ocean Drive, where two men were found with gunshot wounds.
One man died at a hospital, and the other was in critical condition. Police said Saturday that a suspect had been taken into custody.
A second shooting occurred 3:29 a.m. Sunday, this time closer to 11th Street and Ocean Drive, police said. A man was killed, and a suspect was detained.
The shootings appear to be unrelated, isolated incidents, police said.
Miami Beach declares state of emergency over spring break violenceMarch 22, 202203:04
In March 2021, unruly spring break crowds were blamed for brawls that had to be broken up by police and prompted the first state of emergency.
Around the same weekend in March last year, Miami Beach implemented its second state of emergency after five bystanders were hospitalized in two random shootings. Mayor Dan Gelber called the rowdy tourist behavior "unacceptable."
"We don’t want spring break here ... but they keep coming," Gelber said at a news conference last year. "People keep coming here in large numbers, such large numbers that it creates an almost impossible situation for our police.”
Gelber said in 2021 that he did not believe the surge of visitors were part of typical spring break demographic, as the tourists causing issues were not the college students usually associated with the vacation week.
At the time, he said he believed Florida's lack of Covid-19 restrictions was most likely a major factor in driving people to the area.
Sunday’s state of emergency order did not explicitly refer to spring break as the cause of “unruly crowds,” but it is for roughly the same date as the previous two years’ orders.
Essential services and food delivery will be allowed Sunday after the curfew hours, but businesses must admit their last guests with enough time for them to leave before curfew.
Alcohol sales will be prohibited for off-premises consumption in the curfew area after 6 p.m., according to the order.
The city warned that anyone violating the curfew will risk arrest and criminal charges.