The Miami Beach City Commission convened for a special meeting to address the recent deadly shootings that marred the popular Florida spring break destination. After careful deliberation, they decided against implementing a curfew for the upcoming weekend. However, they did pass a measure mandating the early closure of liquor stores. The rationale behind this decision was that the third weekend of spring break, which just concluded, has historically been associated with an uptick in violence. Some commissioners argued that it would be unfair to penalize future crowds for the actions of the past weekend.
The timing of this decision is significant as the area is gearing up to host the widely anticipated Ultra Music Festival, expected to draw massive crowds of electronic music fans to Bayfront Park, according to the Greater Miami Convention Bureau.
The proposal to set a curfew was rejected by four out of the seven commissioners, while six of them voted in favor of the liquor store closure at 6 p.m. ET.
Despite not implementing a curfew, the city manager still retains the authority to impose emergency curfews if deemed necessary. The city had already enforced a curfew that began on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. and ended on Monday at 6 a.m. in response to the shootings and unruly crowds.
Regarding the upcoming Ultra Music Festival, organizers have made it clear that weapons are strictly prohibited, and attendees will be subjected to thorough TSA-style pat-down searches, including bag and pocket checks, as well as item inspections upon entry.
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez emphasized that the real issue lies with the third weekend of spring break and not the Ultra Music Festival weekend.
The recent violence erupted in the popular South Beach area during the f estivities of both St. Patrick’s Day and spring break, resulting in one fatality and another injury. Police reported the recovery of four guns.
Additionally, another person was fatally shot and one more injured in the early hours of Sunday near 11th Street and Ocean Drive, as tweeted by the Miami Beach Police Department. The wounded individual was taken to the hospital but did not survive, while the second victim received on-site treatment and did not require hospitalization.
Last year, in response to two spring break shootings, the City of Miami Beach also imposed a midnight curfew and closed liquor stores. The curfew began at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and expired on Monday morning at 6 a.m. ET.
The City Commission’s decision this year demonstrates their efforts to address public safety concerns while balancing the needs of local businesses and the tourism industry during the critical spring break period.