Miami may extend 8pm curfew for spring breakers after SWAT team fired pepper spray balls to control rowdy crowds

MIAMI may extend its 8pm curfew for spring breakers after their clash with a SWAT team, who fired pepper spray balls to control rowdy crowds.

Officials have had enough of partiers and ordered an emergency curfew from 8pm till 6am over the weekend, forcing restaurants to completely halt outdoor dinning and encouraging local businesses to shut down.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declared the state of emergency saying the crowds that have descended on the city recently are "more than we can handle".

"Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure," Gelber told CNN.

On Saturday, SWAT vehicle was filmed moving down Ocean Drive – a popular party street – telling people that they need to disperse.

Cops eventually began firing pepper balls – projectiles filled with pepper spray – into the crowds, according to reports.


Revelers began fleeing the scene in a chaotic fashion afterwards. It's unclear at this time if anyone was injured.

Commenting on the decision to declare a state of emergency, Miami City Manager Raul Aguila said, "As we hit the peak of the peak of spring break, we are quite simply overwhelmed."

The spring break chaos comes at a particularly contentious time during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as Dr Anthony Fauci has warned Americans against "declaring a Covid victory prematurely."

The infectious diseases expert made the claim in an interview with MSNBC’s Christ Hayes Friday night.

In recent weeks Covid cases across the US have been flattening out at around 55,000 per day, prompting some to speculate the pandemic is nearly over as the vaccine rollout continues and warmer weather is on the way.

But Dr Fauci warned there could still be another spike in cases.



“Instead of continuing to go down at a sharp line it's plateaued. Once it's done that, there's a high risk of another resurgence. We've seen that with previous surges. The other three [surges] that we've had in this country,” the leading doctor said.

“Don't declare victory prematurely. We still have a ways to go, plateauing at 50,000 cases a day is not a good place to be. And that's where we are. We've got to keep pushing to get it down even further.”

Experts believe the spring break could create a “perfect storm” which allows the coronavirus to continue to spread.

Young people without masks have been spotting packing together on Florida’s beaches and in bars – despite the new B.1.1.7 strain, which originated in the UK, sweeping across the sunshine state.

Dr Peter Hotez, of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said: "It's a perfect storm."

He told CNN: "You've got the B.1.1.7 variant accelerating in Florida.

"You've got all these 20-year-old kids. None of them are going to have masks. They're all going to be drinking. They're having pretty close, intimate contact.



"And then, after that's all done, they're going to go back to their home states and spread the B.1.1.7 variant."

Just days ago 150 people were arrested in Miami after brawls broke out.

Miami Beach Mayor Gelber said of the weekend: "It is a really difficult situation."

Speaking to local news station WPLG he said: "A lot of people are coming here and they are coming here with the wrong intentions."

Cops imposed an 8pm curfew on Saturday in the South Beach entertainment district as well as stopping most eastbound traffic entering the city after 9pm, the Miami Herald reported.

The curfew runs from 8pm until 6am and is effective immediately.

It’s unclear how long the curfew will remain in effect, but Aguila told the Herald that he recommends keeping the rules in place through at least April 12.

At a news conference, officials blamed overwhelming and out-of-control spring break crowds for the curfew.

Local officials have struggled to enforce Covid regulations. Under Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ pro-business stance, Florida has no statewide mask rules, limits on capacity, or other such restrictions.




With a number of European countries being plunged back into lockdown due to the rising number of Covid cases, Fauci fears the US may follow suit if Americans do not keep their guard up.

“Europe tends to be three or four weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of the outbreak,” Fauci said.

“They went up, came down, plateaued. They pulled back on the mitigation methods. They stop wearing masks. They opened up the bars.

"They did the things that we warned shouldn't be done and now Europe is seeing, in general, a surge of five to ten percent. I hope that doesn't happen here, but it looks like it's starting to do that," Fauci added.

Dr Fauci called on Americans to redouble their efforts on safety issues such as mask wearing and maintaining social distancing.

“We just have to hang in there a bit longer because every day that goes by you get two to three million people more vaccinated and as we get out of March into April and May, a lot more people will be vaccinated, which would make it a lot less likely that you'd see a surge," he added.

As of Saturday, the US recorded over 54,000 new Covid cases.

That’s a rise from the average of the previous seven days, which is 56,316.

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