'The party is over': Officials in Miami, the unofficial spring break capital of the US, are kicking partiers off beaches and implementing 11 p.m. curfews to curb the coronavirus spread
- Coronavirus is ruining spring break for college kids.
- As of Saturday evening, Miami Beach, once named the top spring break destination in the US, has been temporarily shut down in efforts to contain coronavirus.
- People who feel healthy can be unknowing vessels for spreading coronavirus to those who are more high-risk.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Spring break has come to screeching halt in Miami Beach.Over the weekend, local Florida officials implemented new restrictions in the area to help curb the spread of coronavirus. There are currently 155 known infected cases in the state.
"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.Minimizing crowds of people is an important step in preventing coronavirus from spreading, as even low-risk groups like young, healthy people can be infected with the virus and not exhibit any symptoms.
"You have a mother, you have a grandmother and maybe a great-grandmother," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said to spring breakers during a news conference. "That virus can be extremely dangerous to them."South Beach, which is usually teeming with crowds of college kids this time of year, is now looking ghostly. Here's what it looks like. 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 email@example.com to share your story.
Every spring, many college students flock to one of America's most popular spring break destinations: Miami.
In 2019, they were part of the 23 million tourists visiting the greater Miami area. One of their favorite places to party? Miami Beach.Advertisement
The spring break crowds here are big. In recent years, the noise, garbage, and wild parties have driven away some of the wealthy from South Beach, a trendy area of Miami Beach.
But coronavirus is ruining the party this year. On Saturday, Florida officials closed part of Miami Beach to help contain the spread of the virus. It left the beaches eerily empty.Advertisement
"We cannot become a petri dish for a very dangerous virus," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said of the decision during a news conference. "Spring break is over. The party is over."
"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.Advertisement
Some establishments were already closing down before the beach ban went into effect. On Thursday, two of Miami's most popular clubs — Liv and Story — chose to shut down temporarily "out of an abundance of caution."
On Saturday, Jimmy Morales, Miami Beach City Manager, enacted emergency measures to curb spring breakers from crowding in South Beach with the help of police and civilian ambassadors.Advertisement
"The goal is to avoid the huge crowds that clearly pose both a health hazard and a public disorder risk," Morales wrote in an email to the mayor and City Commission, as reported by Martin Vassolo for The Miami Herald.
Things turned violent later that night: A man was reportedly hospitalized after a police-involved shooting.Advertisement
Officials also enacted other party-stopping measures, implementing a curfew and early nightly shutdowns of stores, bars, and restaurants.
Beginning on Tuesday at 11 p.m., more limited rules will go into effect for all of Miami-Dade County. Any gathering of more than 10 people in Miami Beach will be considered illegal.Advertisement
The regulations were made in conjunction with Fort Lauderdale city officials, who also closed a section of Fort Lauderdale Beach, enforced a curfew, and limited crowds in stores and restaurants.
The Miami Beach regulations will remain in effect until March 19 but may be extended if necessary. Violators would risk a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.Advertisement
An institutional-type ban might be necessary. Without it, spring breakers are the least-likely Florida tourist group to cancel their trip, Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the UCF Orlando, told US News & World Report.
Young people aren't at at high risk for the virus but can asymptomatically carry it, unknowingly infecting others.Advertisement
Of coronavirus, Morales said: "Our focus now is preventing this from getting worse at all costs. I am sure the kids will still come, but they won't be coming to a 'party city.'"
By Sunday evening, Florida's coronavirus cases increased by nearly 30% to 149 total cases. As of Tuesday morning, the count is up to 155.Advertisement
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