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Miami Beach City Commission Extends Curfew, Causeway Closures

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Beach City Commission has voted to extend the entertainment district curfew and causeway closures.

Commissioners gathered virtually Sunday to vote on the extension of the emergency declaration issued Saturday as a response to the unruly spring break crowds on South Beach.

The nightly curfews for Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue and Espanola Way from 5 through 16 Streets last from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.

As for keeping out incoming traffic, the Julia Tuttle, Venetian MacArthur Causeway will close nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

While residents are exempt from the causeway shutdowns, many have complained they spent three to four hours in traffic after bridges were closed during the curfew.

The curfew and causeway closures will be in effect Thursdays through Sundays through April 12th.

Miami Beach Police Chief Rick Clements said that crowds have been out of control. He added that some businesses had sustained damages.

To help control the crowd and prevent similar incidents Miami Beach police has increased their patrols and have implemented a no-tolerance policy.

Saturday night, officers had to use pepper balls to disperse the South Beach crowd, making several arrests in the process.

So far, 1,000 arrests have been made. City Manager Raul Aguila said more than half of those arrests are people from out of state. He added that many are coming "to engage in lawlessness and an anything goes party attitude."

Aguila also noted that the crowds weren't eating at restaurants or patronizing businesses generating badly needed tourism dollars, but merely congregating by the thousands in the street.

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