Miami Beach adopts spring break alcohol sales restrictions

Amanda Watts, CNNPublished 25th February 2022
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 21: People walk along Ocean Drive on March 21, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida. College students have arrived in the South Florida area for the annual spring break ritual, prompting city officials to impose an 8pm to 6am curfew as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Miami Beach police have reported hundreds of arrests and stepped up deployment to control the growing spring break crowds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(CNN) — Some areas in the city of Miami Beach will have restrictions on alcohol sales as spring breakers descend on South Florida.
The city voted during a special commission meeting on Wednesday to restrict alcohol sales after 2 a.m. in certain heavily trafficked areas during the busiest two weeks of the spring break season.
The temporary ordinance will be in place between March 7 and March 21 and will affect all businesses south of 16th street that allow on-site drinking.
Alex Fernandez, Miami Beach city commissioner, said the ordinance will "ensure a safe environment as we protect the quality of life of our residents in a temporary ordinance."
In 2021, Miami Beach was forced to enact a curfew and state of emergency for several weeks as city police struggled to control shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of spring breakers amid the pandemic, CNN previously reported.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said weekends in mid-March are always difficult in his city.
"During March -- on either side of St. Patrick's Day, at the high point at spring break -- the disorder in our city is intolerable. It's just that simple," he said.

Some criticize Miami Beach's targeted restrictions

Several members of the public and business owners said limiting alcohol sales in just one area is unfair.
Jimmy Resnick, the landlord for South Beach club Exchange Miami, said his establishment would be impacted by the ordinance.
"They have to close at two o'clock. You walk approximately a block and a half and you're at Mr. Jones -- they get to open until 5 o'clock ... it's ludicrous," he said. "I think that you do it citywide, or you don't do it at all."
David Martinez, one of the owners of the bar Sweet Liberty, said he does not believe the limit will help.
"Safety is everybody's priority. Whether you believe in two o'clock, five o'clock -- it's everyone's priority," he said during the meeting.
"I do not believe that closing at two o'clock is going to remedy anything," Martinez said. "On the contrary, I think it's going to allow everybody to empty out into the streets at the same time and cause probably more violence."
After over an hour of public and city comment, the commission voted to approve the ordinance 4-3.