Miami Beach won't extend spring break curfew for this weekend
Miami Beach won't be extending a spring break curfew in South Beach for another weekend, despite a request for the order from the city's top administrator in the wake of two fatal shootings.
Why it matters: This is the third straight year that the city imposed a curfew during spring break, and the second year that shootings on Ocean Drive sparked the emergency order.
- City leaders have long struggled to manage the large crowds of partiers who visit South Beach every March and typically congregate on the small, 10-block promenade of Ocean Drive.
Driving the news: City manager Alina Hudak sought permission from the City Commission on Monday to extend a midnight curfew for this upcoming weekend after imposing one overnight Sunday in response to the violence that left two people dead.
- The request failed before a divided commission, with those opposed arguing the curfew would hurt South Beach business owners during the weekend that Ultra Music Festival comes to Miami.
- Commissioners instead approved a plan to prohibit retail liquor sales in South Beach after 6pm this weekend.
What they're saying: Critics of the curfew argued that even with the electronic music festival, this weekend is expected to be quieter than St. Patrick's Day weekend.
- They also said businesses shouldn't have to suffer economic hardship during what's expected to be a potentially lucrative couple of days.
- The owners of M2, a South Beach nightclub with a scheduled grand opening this week, said prior to the meeting that they would sue the city if the curfew was extended, the Miami Herald reports.
The other side: Mayor Dan Gelber, who supported the curfew, said some commissioners were trying to balance public safety with business interests.
- "I think we're making a big mistake. I hope it's not one that results in something much worse," Gelber said.
The intrigue: Hudak still has the authority to impose a 72-hour curfew herself by declaring a new state of emergency, city attorney Rafael Paz said during the meeting. But she would "need to take into account that the body … has expressed that you don't want to see a curfew in place."
- A city spokesperson told Axios after the meeting that she "does not plan to implement a curfew at this time."
What we're watching: Looking to plan ahead for next year, some commissioners proposed enclosing Ocean Drive and other high-traffic areas and creating security checkpoints that the public must pass through to enter.
- The checkpoints would have metal detectors to deter armed visitors from the area.
- "People should not be able to walk into a crowded area with weapons," Commissioner Ricky Arriola said. "There's got to be a better way than what we've seen just over the past weekend."
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