Mar 27, 2023 - News

Miami Beach wants to impose a curfew for spring break 2024

People stand on Ocean Drive during spring break in Miami Beach, Florida, on March 24, 2022. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

As spring break in Miami Beach comes to a close, city officials have already begun crafting a message to the large crowds planning to visit next year: Party's over.

What's happening: Commissioners voted Monday in support of imposing a curfew for spring break 2024 and to explore creating a gun-free perimeter along world-famous Ocean Drive through a private event.

  • "The message today has to be resoundingly clear: Miami Beach is shutting the door on spring break once and for all," Commissioner Alex Fernandez, who sponsored the curfew measure, said ahead of the vote.

Why it matters: Despite a heavy police presence and year-round planning, Miami Beach has long struggled to manage the disorder and violence that often accompanies large spring break crowds.

  • Two fatal shootings on Ocean Drive during St. Patrick's Day weekend this month sparked a midnight curfew and renewed a sense of urgency among city leaders to take action.
  • This is the third year in a row that the city has ordered curfews during spring break in reaction to disorderly crowds or shootings.

The intrigue: The City Commission on Monday voted to direct city manager Alina Hudak to impose the restrictions for the two busiest March weekends of spring break 2024.

  • It's an unusual move for Miami Beach because curfews are not typically imposed a year out.

Meanwhile, in a separate vote, commissioners directed staff to explore bringing a private event to South Beach next year in order to create a "secure perimeter" with checkpoints around Ocean Drive to stop guns from coming into the area.

What they're saying: City attorney Rafael Paz justified a proactive curfew by comparing it to a hurricane barreling toward the city. After three straight years of curfews, there's enough precedent to expect the next spring break to bring more of the same, he argued.

  • Hudak didn't say during the meeting whether she would impose the curfew, and the commission left the details up to city staff to develop.

Lyle Stern, president of the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District, told commissioners that the reputational damage to the city required extreme measures.

  • "I think this is a moment to be incredibly aggressive and heavy-handed," he said. "We have to make it super uncomfortable for people to come here."

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