The city of Miami Beach, worried about big crowds filling the streets of South Beach and the threat of a resurgent coronavirus, moved up its curfew Saturday in an effort to shut down late-night spring break partying it said had gotten out of control.
The 8 p.m. curfew applied to the city’s South Beach entertainment district. Videos on social media from Friday night showed hundreds of people gathered outside after dark and law enforcement dispersing crowds.
“It looked like a rock concert,” Raul J. Aguila, the interim city manager, said in a hastily called news conference on Saturday afternoon. “You couldn’t see pavement, and you couldn’t see grass.”
Florida reopened months before the rest of the country, long before the recent wave of states like Texas that have lifted all or most restrictions and mask mandates.
the highest concentration of B.1.1.7, the more contagious and possibly more lethal virus variant first identified in Britain.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Saturday that he’s concerned that Americans are getting too comfortable as vaccinations gather speed and the country’s daily caseload is far below its January peak. But cases have plateaued at a high level, similar to last summer’s surge, according to a New York Times database.
“History has shown us that when you have that plateauing, that’s usually the forerunner of another surge. We’ve actually seen that in the European Union,” Dr. Fauci said on the Today Show, referring to the latest surge in Europe that has spurred governments to lock down again.
“I’m really concerned if we declare victory prematurely that that’s the same thing that’s gonna happen,” Dr. Fauci added about the situation in Europe. “If we can just hang on a bit longer, the more people get vaccinated, the less likelihood that there is going to be a surge.”
In Miami Beach, law enforcement officials said large crowds have been drawn to the city because they were looking for a place with fewer virus restrictions. Hotel rooms and flights have been deeply discounted, to make up for the months of lost time.