MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Miami Beach has had a run of bad behavior, with a blatant lack of social distancing, street parties and even violence — much of it caught on camera.
Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales told commissioners Friday he will extend the emergency order through at least July 24, and it will now include an 8 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district for people and businesses, and the closing of package liquor stores in that area at 5 p.m starting Saturday.
All business establishments located within the entertainment district (excluding the portion between 73 and 75 streets) and the area between Pennsylvania Avenue and Collins Court, from Fifth Street to 16th Street (excluding Espanola Way between Washington Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue), must close by 8 p.m. daily, except for delivery.
Meanwhile, Miami Beach Police are working to get more officers on the streets to focus on breaking up the crowds.
“We’re beefing up our staffing across the board,” Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said. “The most important thing is the more bodies out there, the more people we have that we can concentrate and go up to these crowds and do that.”
The public street of most concern these days? Ocean Drive, where groups gather at night for big parties, fueling fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
“Right now, our emphasis is on public safety. Public safety has to be number one. We can’t have gunshots and brandishing of guns and ransacking of cafes on our public streets,” Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson said.
Close contact and minimal mask protection have prompted calls from city leaders for stricter enforcement.
“Don’t come to Miami Beach without a mask on or you’re going to get a ticket; you’re going to see people complying with the law,” commissioner Michael Gongora said.
“We have not only additional Miami Beach Police officers out on our roadways,” Miami Beach Police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez said, “we also have officers from Miami-Dade County here assisting Miami Beach with enforcing the face cover mandates, ensuring folks are maintaining that social distance.”
City leaders said it’s all in an effort to avoid another shutdown, but if the numbers don’t start taking a turn for the better, that’s a real possibility in the coming days.
“Number one is public safety, and right now, we have a public safety concern,” Richardson said.
Details of the curfew also include having the entirety of Ocean Drive, from Fifth Street to 15th Street, closed to all vehicular traffic at all times.
For more information on the city’s efforts to curb COVID-19, please visit miamibeachfl.gov/coronavirus.
The full curfew order is below.
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