MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach City Commissioners discussed how to handle this year’s spring break as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the county, especially locally in South Florida.
City leaders decided unanimously on Wednesday not to move forward with a previously proposed spring break festival.
The interim city manager cited the ongoing effects of COVID-19, saying things will not be back to normal by march.
“People still are coming here because they want to do what they would never do in their hometown and that’s just not really what we want,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Look, we’re holding our breath because while typically we’re a place that people come to a wonderful destination, right now large gatherings don’t make a whole lot of sense. In fact, they’re unhealthy and dangerous.”
It’s bad news for Omar Thompson, who runs a lifestyle concierge service catering to visitors.
“Wow, that’s a big blow to Miami, being that we make so much money off of tourism,” Thompson said. “I rent out a lot of cars and being that this has closed down, it stopped a lot of the rentals. But people want to come have fun out here, spend some money.”
The city is exploring programming options to try to find its spring break identity and look at ways to better police the often raucous crowds.
Miami Beach police recently rolled out a task force aimed at deterring criminal behavior in the city’s art deco cultural district.
But with or without planned events, locals telling us the spring breakers will come.
“I believe it’s the only city right now since the pandemic started that they’ve just kept it rolling,” said Miami-Dade resident Christopher Chavez. “With that said, I don’t see it stopping anybody.”