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Miami imposes coronavirus curfew amid spring break chaos

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By AP with Euronews
Beach goers enjoy the beautiful weather at the beach, Wednesday, March 2, 2021 in Miami Beach
Beach goers enjoy the beautiful weather at the beach, Wednesday, March 2, 2021 in Miami Beach   -   Copyright  Pedro Portal/AP

Officials have imposed an emergency curfew for Miami Beach on Sunday, after hard-partying spring break crowds gathered by the thousands without masks or social distancing on Saturday night.

The 8pm-6am curfew was taking effect Saturday night in South Beach, one of the nation's top party spots.

Footage showed partygoers crowding streets, with police firing pellets at people in an attempt to disperse the gatherings.

Tourists and hotel guests are being told to stay indoors during curfew hours.

It's unclear how long the curfew will remain in effect, but Interim City Manager Raul Aguila told the Miami Herald that he recommends keeping the rules in place through at least April 12.

A countywide midnight curfew was already in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No pedestrians or vehicles will be allowed to enter the restricted area after 8 pm. and all businesses in the vicinity must close read a statement released by the city.

The curfew comes as a prominent bar, the Clevelander South Beach, announced it was temporarily suspending all food and beverage operations until at least March 24 after crowds crammed Ocean Drive, breaking out into street fights. 

At another restaurant next door, tables and chairs were smashed during a fight, news outlets reported.

Local officials and businesses have struggled to balance courting tourists to boost the economy while doing so safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism is Florida's top-earning industry, generating more than $91 billion (€76.5 billion) in 2018.