We have all been upset by how our beautiful Miami Beach is reflected in the news media and on social media in the last two weeks, and the impact of Spring Break crowds "no holds barred" partying and lawless behavior.
At our Emergency Commission Meeting called by Mayor Gelber this morning, the Miami Beach Commission has asked City Manager Morales to put together an aggressive program to curtail Spring Break in Miami Beach. The City of Miami Beach will issue a press release shortly with the details of the City's immediate response, which includes among other steps: rigorous enforcement of our 'no alcohol on the beach' law, keeping crowds dispersed in the entertainment district, and adding 80 police officers to our force for a new total of 371 officers on duty this coming weekend.
While Spring Break was not a surprise, the crowd volume (and associated calls for service) have increased 33% over and above last year. Spring Break tourism is not sustainable: it takes a tremendous toll on our police officers to sustain "alpha bravo mode," and is not financially sustainable for the City, with a forecasted $2.7 million dollars budget needed for safety and sanitation for Spring Break in 2020.
March in Miami Beach is sublime. It is one of our most beautiful months. Our hotels will be full and arguably our restaurants and other venues stand to make even more revenue with a different type of tourism than Spring Break tourism.
Spring Break tourism is damaging our brand and will impact our convention center business and other tourism if we don’t get in front of it and curb the attractions on which this type of tourism is based: partying, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, and fighting, both on the beach and in the streets.
Miami Beach has always been a welcoming City, and we intend to stay a global vacation destination. When high impact events create a danger to the public, to our officers and employees, when they ruin the enjoyment of our City by our residents and damage the Miami Beach brand, then we are obligated to take strong actions. Ultimately, if we have to change the hours for alcohol sales or even extend a curfew at some point, aggressive steps to end the chaos on our beaches and on our streets will be taken.
Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman