Miami Beach sees crowds, plans fireworks for New Year’s Eve

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – On Miami Beach, the barriers are up. Earlier Thursday, specialists were getting ready for the evening’s big fireworks show.

They are setting the pyrotechnics on the sand for a 10 p.m. show that organizers said should last about 20 minutes.

Doing an earlier show was apparently a recommendation from Miami Beach police, who we are told, will be out in force New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

The show has been kept under wraps until the last minute so large crowds could be kept at bay.

[RELATED: Mr. Neon won’t be putting up Miami’s Big Orange this NYE]

Miami Beach resident Luis Diazlay couldn’t believe the amount of people already out.

By mid-day, restaurants were already packed. The images were shocking for some who said last time they check, there was still a worldwide pandemic.

“I am livid,” Luis Diazlay said.

He said he and wife, Amarilys, are not going out for the festivities and will be ringing in the new year at home.

“We are going to have high numbers because of this. Everyone is coming from all over the United States because we have the beaches,” Amarilys said.

The Starkweathers, visiting from Fremont, Ohio, said they feel safer here rather than at home.

“You can’t help but to not smile here. The sun is shining,” Julie Starkweather said.

Daniel Starkweather said he feels “safer outdoors down here in the nicer weather.”

Miami-Dade County has a curfew for New Year’s Eve at 1 a.m. and police and city officials said they will be enforcing it.

Statistics from Miami International Airport tell the story of the crowds as people don’t seem to be hesitating too much to come to the Magic City.

Officials said that they are down 43 percent, but that passenger traffic at the airport has been gradually and steadily climbing. Jack Varela with MIA said that on a usual day, a non holiday, MIA has been 110,000 and 120,000 passengers pass through its doors. Holiday peak hits 140,000 passengers, Varela said.

On Wednesday, Dec. 30, passengers to MIA were 80,106 compared to the same time last year at 141,247.

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About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local