Updated as of 3/31/2022 at 8:50 a.m. ET
The spring break curfew on South Beach has been canceled as spring breakers leave Miami, reported WSVN. The cancellation follows Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declaring a state of emergency last week as an influx Black visitors arrived to the city, reported Miami Herald. The mayor’s decision was criticized as an overreaction to the presence of Black crowds, which have been reportedly peaceful.
Critics responded quickly to the decision. Stephen Hunter Johnson of the Miami-Dade’s Black Advisory Board said, “The only emergency is that Black people are on the beach. I don’t understand how this town has been doing spring break for at least 25 years and can’t figure it out,” per Miami Herald. Lawmaker Michael Grieco said the declaration was “an abuse of governmental power” and “scared the crap” out of him.
The curfew for crowds was set to 12 a.m.
From Miami Herald:
The exact details of what powers Miami Beach plans to flex remain unclear — the government has yet to release a copy of the state of emergency order, which must be signed by City Manager Alina Hudak. So far, officials say the city will implement a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew, for areas between South Pointe Drive and 23rd Street, and set up traffic barricades to deter non-residents from entering some neighborhoods.
City officials on Monday said the state of emergency was necessary because of the two shootings over two nights. “There are cowards out there toting guns,” Hudak said during Monday’s press conference.
Miami declared a state of emergency last spring break too. When the spring breakers arrived in the city, there was a reported surge of “rowdy crowds” partying in the streets and jumping on top of cop cars, reported Miami Herald. A new law was put in place allowing cops to arrest people who got too close to them but it was questioned after Black people were the main ones getting arrested.
To take it a step further, Miami has historically had it out for their Black visitors. Back in 1936 Black people were ordered to carry an identification card to access Miami Beach, according to Miami Herald. It wasn’t until 1964 when the Supreme Court ruled the ID law unconstitutional but that wasn’t enough to ease the racial tension. Just in 2019, an Ocean Drive executive’s email leaked calling Black visitors “classless” and “ignorant,” per Miami Herald.
A few students said they felt “uneasy” and that the past weekend as been “chaotic” with the increase in police presence following the shootings, per Miami Herald.
“The curfew makes it seem like we’re the problem,” said Ayo Fala from Drexel University via Miami Herald.