Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Tuesday that spring breakers coming to Florida “want to let loose in ways that are unacceptable” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The problem it’s not just Miami. The problem is we have too many people coming. We have too many people coming who want to just let loose in ways that are unacceptable. And we have a pandemic including I think really sort of ground central for the variant,” Gelber said on “CNN Newsroom.”
“There’s a lot of things to be concerned about. Our medical advisors say exactly what the national medical advisors say, that this is all very perilous and that in fact, you know, it could easily be something that spreads elsewhere,” Gelber said.
Gelber said he doesn’t want the city to become an epicenter “of a problem that affects other communities locally or elsewhere.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky implored spring breakers on Monday to heed the coronavirus guidelines. Police arrested almost 150 people over the weekend in Miami when spring breakers came to the city.
Miami Beach Police Department officers had to use pepper balls to scatter a chaotic crowd and two officers were brought to the hospital after being injured, the police department tweeted.
Gelber said he believes Miami Beach was the first U.S. city to mandate masks “when the CDC said to have masks.” The Miami Beach mayor said the city has issued more than 1,000 fines, but Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said they cannot issue the fines.
“Recently he said you can’t do anything to promote that kind of compliance. We’re doing the best we can. We have good will ambassadors on Saturday alone that gave 7,000 masks out to people,” Gelber said.
Gelber said Florida residents are receiving “mixed messages, including from” DeSantis, which has been difficult to get past.
“The problem isn’t just the ability to do stuff, the problem is that the message people are getting from the governor and others is that they shouldn’t have to worry about this,” Gelber said.