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Miami Beach Passes New Rules For 'High Impact Events' Such As Spring Break Or Memorial Day

Maria Alejandra Cardona
The Miami Herald
Police were out in full force in Miami Beach during spring break this year.

Miami Beach City Commission is cracking down on events regulations during what they refer to as "high impact events", such as Spring Break and Memorial Day weekend, alleging these times stretch city resources to regulate traffic, parking and policing.

The proposed ordinance, with regulations aimend primarily toward businesses and promoters, passed the first vote on Wednesday. It'll go through revisions before a final vote that's scheduled for April 24th.

The new rules include a ban on issuing business licenses to promoters planning single events at bars and clubs during "high volume periods." There will also be an increase penalty for bars and clubs that allow underage patrons and the city manager has new emergency powers to act during those times.

The commissioners said they hope these ordinances will limit instances  of unruly behavior like the ones seen in Miami Beach this year, which included instances of young people brawling on the beach.“We have to send some kind of message that this city can’t absorb and doesn’t want to be part of these shenanigans,” said Mayor Dan Gelber during the meeting.

Some commissioners see a correlation between promoters and the high-density crowds that stretch city resources to the limits. However, Commissioner Ricky Arriola said there is no evidence to prove this and expressed concern that the city is taking the wrong approach with legislation.

“Almost every piece of proposed legislation yesterday [Wednesday] was frankly stupid on it’s face. Sounds good in headlines, 'the city of Miami Beach is getting tough,' but when you look at the facts and play out the scenarios you realize how ill conceived they are,” Arriola said.

He thinks there could be two possible successful avenues to pursue: better enforcement of current laws before enacting more laws and organized programming to engage guests, so there is less idle time for poor behavior to arise.

Steven Ruiz, a beach manager for the hospitality company Boucher Brothers, says the city is already doing an adequate job with regulating these "high volume weeks". He thinks with some minor changes the city will be in good shape.

“The only thing I would say is DUIs. That’s it. Basically being that we are in Miami Beach, people are constantly out and about going to bars and all that, I don’t see a whole lot of checking of the IDs at night,” Ruiz said.

Correction: The original version of this story indicated that the Miami City Commission approved the new measures when in fact it was the Miami Beach City Commission. We regret the error.