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This City Imposes COVID Curfew to Control Spring Break Chaos

"If you're coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else. We don't want you.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Miami nightlife

The photos from Miami Beach this weekend look as if there's no coronavirus pandemic at all: The streets are packed with maskless partiers, arm to arm, letting loose for Spring Break. It has led Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber to declare a state of emergency—and an 8 pm curfew—over what looks like, in his words, "a rock concert." Gelber spoke with CNN's Ana Cabrera and detailed scenes that would horrify public health experts during a pandemic. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The Mayor of Miami Beach Installed a Curfew and Says "Go Crazy" Someplace Else

"Our city is one of the few destinations that are open nationally," said Gelber on CNN. "Most other places are closed. Most other places that might be too cold. So we're getting an enormous amount of people here—more than we can handle, too many are coming, really without the intention of following the rules. And the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure." 

"It's gotten worse every single day," he added. "So we declared a curfew. We also will be closing our causeways other than to local traffic coming into our island city at 9:00 PM every night for the next few nights; we just needed to do it as a safety measure. And of course we're in the middle of a pandemic, which makes things even more challenging."

The mayor painted a picture of calm by day, chaos by night. "During the day, it's pretty attained," he said. "People go to our seven and a half miles of beaches. The restaurants or hotels are doing a pretty good job. We have outdoor dining, but at night and our entertainment district, it becomes a whole different scene. It feels like a rock concert—wall to wall people over blocks and blocks. The other last night, somebody shot a weapon up in the air and there was a riot. Other things have happened that are similarly challenging. And so it feels like a tinder—it feels like just any match could set it off. And we don't want to wait to take these kinds of actions in the wake of a tremendous tragedy. We want to take it now when we've seen enough and we have definitely seen enough."

"We're always going to be one of the best destinations in the world, frankly, because we have so much to offer and that's probably why people are coming," he said, "but right now, if you're coming here because you've been a pent up and you want to let loose, or you think anything goes, please don't come here. We have extra police everywhere. We're going to arrest people. We're going to keep order because that's the first job of a city government,. is to keep order. And we've got to do that. So if you're coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else. We don't want you."

Dr. Fauci Says Gatherings in Florida are Still Dangerous

Earlier this month, speaking on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said coverage of Daytona Bike Week—a Florida motorcycle rally where 300,000 attendees were expected—gave him "chills" because of its potentially dangerous public health implications. 

"I understand people want to get out and enjoy themselves and get back to what would have been normal a couple of years ago, but we really just got to hang on a bit longer," said Fauci. "We're really going in the right direction." COVID cases have been declining nationwide, but health officials worry that rapidly spreading coronavirus variants could spark another surge of the disease. 

"It's really ill-advised to do something like that, because you know as a matter of fact that people are not uniformly going to keep their masks on when they finish with the rally," said Fauci. "They're going to go to bars. They're going to have fun, which is understandable. You can understand their wanting to do that, but they're likely going to be pulling back from some of the prudent public health measures. I just hope we don't have another surge in that area from that."

How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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