A state of emergency has been declared within the US city of Miami Beach over concerns large crowds gathering for respite pose a coronavirus risk.
A 20:00-06:00 curfew has been announced within the island city which will remain in effect until a minimum of 12 April.
Traffic restrictions are in place during the curfew, while businesses within the busy South Beach area must close.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said thousands of tourists had brought “chaos and disorder” to the town.
Mr. Gelber said, “It seems like a concert, wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks,” “If you’re coming here to travel crazy, go elsewhere.”
Spring break may be a holiday period for schools and universities within the US that sometimes takes place in March or April. It attracts thousands of scholars to Florida and other warm-weather destinations around the country.
Officials warned tourists to “vacation responsibly or be arrested” before the vacation period, and a county-wide midnight coronavirus curfew was already in place due to the pandemic.
But the Miami Beach area was thronged with revelers over the weekend, and lots of didn’t appear to be wearing masks or socially distancing.
One city official described South Beach, which incorporates the world-famous Ocean Drive, as being “overwhelmed” by crowds on Saturday.
“You couldn’t see pavement and you could not see grass,” mayor Raul Aguila said.
He added that the emergency measures were “necessary not only to guard our residents but our visitors, including our spring breakers who we would like to stay safe”.
Until the measures are lifted, police will prevent pedestrians and vehicles from entering the South Beach area’s main party strips.
On Sunday, the Miami Beach city commission voted to increase the curfew and other measures for up to 3 more weeks.
At an emergency meeting, Mayor Gelber told the commission South Beach had become “a tinder over the last few weeks”.
He said tourists had flooded into the town since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called the state an “oasis of freedom” from coronavirus restrictions late last month.
Florida continues to be a coronavirus hotspot within the US. The state has recorded nearly two million of the country’s 29 million infections since the pandemic began.