Miami Beach has been overrun with crowds of mostly maskless spring breakers.
Miami Beach has declared a state of emergency and set a curfew, and police have arrested hundreds.
Saturday night, police fired pepper balls into crowds, which caused a brief stampede.
Crowds have descended on Miami Beach to party for spring break this month, even as Florida struggles to contain the coronavirus.
On Saturday the city of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and set a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting that night due to "significant concerns relating to larger than expected spring break crowds."
This time last year, spring breakers flocked to Florida's beach parties even as the coronavirus spread across the world.
Similar scenes have cropped up in Miami Beach this year, with crowds of revelers in the streets.
Most of the revelers appeared not to be wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing.
Source: Getty Images
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN the biggest crowds have been at night. "It feels like a rock concert, wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks," Gelber said.
Some danced on top of police cars and other vehicles.
Officials said that spring breakers have damaged restaurants and that some have even brawled in the streets.
Source: USA Today
Miami Beach police said they arrested "hundreds" of partiers the weekend of March 12. The next weekend, they said they made more than 50 arrests and confiscated eight firearms.
On Saturday, police ramped up their response to the crowds, firing pepper balls - a pepper-spray projectile - into the crowds and using sound cannons. Video from the scene showed there was a stampede at one point.
—Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) March 21, 2021
Some Black community leaders criticized the police for using "unnecessary force" on people of color in Miami Beach.
Stephen Hunter Johnson, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County's Black affairs advisory board, said he was "very disappointed" with the police response on Saturday night.
"I think when they're young Black people [on South Beach], the response is, 'Oh my God, we have to do something,'" he told the Miami Herald.
Johnson added that police gave tourists and businesses only a few hours' notice about the curfew and that police started shooting pepper balls before 10 p.m.
Eventually, Ocean Drive, the main thoroughfare of Miami Beach's entertainment district, was left largely empty on Saturday night.
On Sunday, Miami Beach city commissioners extended the Thursday-through-Sunday curfew for the rest of spring break until April 12.
But spring breakers were back out in full force on Sunday.
Source: Getty Images
Meanwhile, the coronavirus situation in Florida - and the US overall - is still not under control.
Miami-Dade County reported 1,275 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths on Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. A day earlier, Florida surpassed 2 million total infections as it reported 5,105 new cases. As of Monday, 12.74% of Florida's population has been fully vaccinated.
The US overall reported more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's maintained that he's been at successful at controlling COVID-19 in Florida, lifted most of the state's restrictions in the fall of 2020 and has called the state "an oasis of freedom" during the pandemic.
The governor hasn't made any public comments on this year's spring-break chaos, but he agreed to provide Miami Beach with reinforcement and resources from the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
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