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Miami Beach details new measures to curb unruly crowds, violence during spring break

by Staff


Miami Beach enacting new restrictions to address spring break violence

MIAMI — With melees and shootings on the streets of South Beach during previous spring breaks, officials in Miami Beach, Florida, are instituting a series of new safety measures this March

“We have been struggling with spring break for quite some time,” Miami Beach Police Chief Wayne Jones said, adding that police and the city have put together a solid plan. 

“Essentially we want to divorce ourselves from Spring Break,” he added. 

Newly-elected Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner said that last year, there were two fatal shootings during spring break. There were 488 arrests and 105 firearms seized during spring break of 2023, according to Miami Beach police.

“It’s not just bad for our businesses, it’s bad for our residents, it’s bad for our tourists,” Meiner told CBS News. “I have a responsibility as mayor to keep everyone safe.”


What you need to know about Miami Beach restrictions ahead of Spring Break

Miami Beach officials are meeting with businesses to explain what to expect during the month of March.  

Some of the tough new measures include raising parking rates, which will range from a $30 to $100 flat fee. The cost of towing for out-of-towners will be $516. The city will add security checkpoints and bag checks at some beach entrances, and liquor stores will close at 8 p.m. under the plan.   

There is also a comprehensive traffic plan that calls for closures, license plate readers and DUI checkpoints, all of which will cause big backups on the causeways. Furthermore, Ocean Drive sidewalk cafes will be closed on the two busiest weekends in March. 

“There goes 50% of everything for every business on Ocean Drive, it goes to ‘why open?'” asked David Wallack, who owns Mango’s Tropical Cafe — which includes a sidewalk cafe. 

Wallak told CBS Miami he could see himself closing during spring break. 

“After 16 stampedes last year, I was so put off by it,” Wallak said. “Here I was pulling families and children behind my car to save them from getting hurt in a stampede.” 

His idea is to replace spring break with something better. 

“We need to be looking at great people on stage singing, a great concert that everyone wants to be at instead of ‘don’t go to Miami Beach in the middle of March.'” Wallack said.

However, Marcelo Avalos of Gulf Liquors says the new rules unfairly target business owners.
 
“Because, OK, you’re going to close all the liquor stores, you’re going to shut it down earlier,” Avalos said. “But it’s going to be in a way that you can continue to by alcohol from other sources.”

But some residents welcome the change.
 
“This is our town. Anything we can do to make crime less, to get the guns off our street, the drugs off our street, that’s a good thing,’ Tony Zacchei said. 

The city will hold more events for businesses and residents to let them know what to expect. The plan’s big rollout was set for Thursday.  

Manuel Bojorquez contributed to this report. 

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