MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Starting Saturday night, the city of Miami Beach is imposing a curfew for its entertainment district and also close three causeways leading into the city.
The decision was announced by city officials at a press conference outside Miami Beach City Hall.
The measures are being put into place as an effort to control large crowds that have gathered during spring break.
“Too many people are coming into our city and too many people are coming here with bad intentions,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “At night, there is no question that it became a little out of control, or a lot of of control.”
The curfew in the city’s entertainment district will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Julia Tuttle and Venetian causeways eastbound as well as Macarthur Causeway eastbound will also be closing starting Saturday night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. As of now, both measures will be in place for 72 hours, according to Gelber.
(Watch the press conference below.)
The only exceptions of those that can travel the causeways will be city residents, guests of hotels, and employees that need to get to work on the beach.
Included in the curfew will be all restaurants and bars that must also close no later than 8 p.m. in the entertainment district, according to Interim City Manager Raul J. Aguila. Restaurants with outdoor dining should be closed by 7 p.m., Aguila said.
The entertainment district includes Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue from Fifth to 16th Streets.
Aguila said that a special commission meeting is scheduled for Sunday to assess the situation and decide if the measures should be extended past 72 hours.
Miami Beach Police Chief Rick Clements cited the need for the curfew and closures because of the large crowds that gathered Thursday and Friday.
“We’ve done everything we can to try and mitigate the behavior that we are seeing, but quite frankly I am concerned that the behavior is getting more for us to be able to handle,” said Clements. “The department has been doing what they can.”
Clements said that on Friday night a woman was hurt while trying to get away from a crowd that was running along Ocean Drive.
Miami Beach Police will have several other law enforcement departments assisting them with weekend crowds including Miami-Dade police, Miami Gardens police and Coral Gables police, according to Clements.
“It feels like a rock concert everywhere,” Gelber said.
(Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.)