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Snippet of NPR's Up First: Miami Beach Places Curfew to Halt Rowdy Spring Breakers

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The city of Miami Beach is under a curfew to try to mitigate crowds of rowdy spring breakers.
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okay. In Florida city mayors are pleading with people to do the right thing. So our hope is that people will do the things that we've asked them to do as it relates to masking up, backing up and washing up. And not only can you spread the virus to seniors, but you can spread the virus to anyone. That's the first job of a city government is to keep order, and we've got to do that. So they're coming here to go crazy. Go somewhere else. We don't want you. We just heard Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. Miami Beach has been taking emergency measures. The city set a curfew to control people celebrating spring break. Hundreds of people defied that curfew, walking the streets without masks. Over the weekend, police sprayed pepper balls to disperse crowds. Veronica's Argo via of member station Val run in Miami is with us. Good morning, Veronica. Hi. Good morning. How did things get so out of hand in Miami Beach? Well, the city of Miami Beach depends heavily on its hospitality industry as a lifeline, as as a good amount of this county, and the pandemic has hit tourism hard, and the city had hoped to strike a balance between welcoming tourists and keeping people safe. But city officials say they didn't expect the amount of people who came. They're blaming cheap flights for that, and over the last few days, crowds really swelled and things came to a head. At one point, the city's police chief said that at least one gun was fired. Police also fired pepper balls to break up a crowd, they said, and one very popular Party venue on Ocean Drive announced it was temporarily shutting down to protect patrons and staff. And that really rattled people and officials say arrests are up and they're confiscating weapons and drugs. How our spring breakers reacting to all of this? What are they saying? Yeah, I've heard a mix of reactions. Some say they understand the need for the curfew, but Christina Thomas is a college student who tells me she had heard about Miami as a fun reputation and good weather. She flew in from Indiana, and she thinks the police overreacted. I didn't think that it calls for all that because really everybody was just having a good time like they weren't breaking into things. They weren't like fighting or anything like that. So that was kind of a bummer. And another visitor I spoke to did not come for spring break but says the curfew left her without anything to eat or do so. She was thinking of going to Fort Lauderdale. That city does not have a curfew. Florida's governor, Rhonda Santis, has been lifting restrictions. He recently very famously said, Quote. Florida is open for business. Do people think that's contributing to what's happening now? Yeah, The governor has made it harder for local authorities to find businesses or people if they don't physically distance or wear masks. And that does please people coming from cold weather places. And they like that. Things are really open here. But one local couple who live here in Miami Beach say that Governor Ron de Santis is partly to blame for the crowds there. Yasmin Arab, Ooh, Bishop and Nico Bishop. I think him saying this is open and everybody can come to Florida know that didn't help him come here on Friday night, the people of experiences an ocean drive, come over here and see if you agree with this. You know, they say the police presence is unsettling, but they like the curfew. They feel that it makes them safe at night. When does spring break end? After an emergency meeting yesterday, the city can extend its nightly curfew for three weeks. They will also be limiting street and highway access to the area and restricting restaurants to deliver only during the curfew. Veronica Zaragoza of member Station W. Lrn in Miami. Thanks, Veronica. Thank you, Noel.