Florida cities are working together to make sure that banning spring breakers from one area doesn't cause a huge influx of partiers in another
- Coronavirus has ended spring break in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
- The mayors of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale worked together to implement restrictions that would curb coronavirus without sending a wave of spring breakers to either city.
- The new regulations have shut down popular sections of the cities' beaches, closed restaurants and nightclubs, and limited crowds - and spring breakers aren't happy about it.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Spring break is anything but wild in South Florida right now.Usually, South Florida, the region of southeast Florida that encompasses Fort Lauderdale and Miami, is a notorious spring break destination.Advertisement
In 2018, Miami was named the No. 1 spring break destination in the US and Fort Lauderdale ranked as the booziest. Locals, however, are less than thrilled about the parties: In recent years, the noise, garbage, and wild parties have driven some of the wealthy residents away from South Beach, a trendy area of Miami Beach. And a 2019 memo from Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman noted that the city had a forecast budget of $2.7 million for safety and sanitation alone for Spring Break 2020.
But in a joint news conference on Sunday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis implemented new restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. They said they devised the plan together so each city's regulations wouldn't send an influx of spring breakers to the other city, reported Susannah Bryan for the Sun Sentinel.Gelber and Trantalis ordered bars and restaurants in both cities to close before 10 p.m. and to operate at half capacity, implemented an 11 p.m. curfew, and limited crowds to 250 people. Both also shut down the most populated sections of each city's beaches.
On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days. That same day, Gelber, along with Miami-Dade county's deputy mayor, and Trantalis implemented even more limited restrictions for their respective counties. In separate press conferences, they announced the closure of restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and other businesses excluding essential ones such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks, also for 30 days. Restaurants are still open for take-out and delivery in each county.As of Wednesday at 8 a.m., there are currently 210 identified coronavirus cases in Florida. "COVID-19 is a threat as much here as anywhere," Bryan reports Gelber saying in the Sunday conference. "We simply cannot endure these kinds of gatherings and crowds. Our measures are intended to send a clear message that Spring Break is canceled ..."Advertisement
He added: "The party is over."
Spring breakers aren't happy with the restrictions
Some spring breakers are finding the new coronavirus restrictions hard to grapple with."It's extremely upsetting because most students only get one spring break," 21-year-old Gabby Porter, who was in Miami for spring break, told Business Insider of the restrictions. "I am a senior and booked this trip months ago. Unfortunately, coronavirus is really serious and I understand the restrictions, it's just really sad."Advertisement
Porter was spring breaking in Miami from March 7 to March 13, before the restrictions were enacted, but she still felt the effects of coronavirus. She said her group did everything they wanted until early Wednesday.
She and her friends had tickets to LIV - one of Miami's infamous nightclubs - Wednesday night, but had watched the presidential address and decided "not to go to be safe, which sucked," she said. On Thursday, LIV announced its temporary closure, Porter added, "which was a close call for us."Dryden Quigley, a college junior, told The New York Times she was vacationing in Miami Beach for spring break when the mayor enforced the regulations. "It's been overwhelming - every day there is something else," she said. "I started off pretty excited about hanging on the beach. Now I am on edge and nervous about the traveling."Advertisement
But others are a little more lax. "It's so weird, we didn't think it was going to get this bad," a 22-year-old college student visiting Miami Beach told Reuters. "At least I'm still in warm weather though, so whatever, I'll just hang out in the hotel and flex. I'm staying for the rest of my trip."
Are you on spring break right now, or have you had any spring break plans cancelled suddenly because of the coronavirus? Email this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
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