Miami Beach extends spring break emergency with liquor store cutoff, but no curfew

Miami Beach declared a continued state of emergency Wednesday to address spring break crowds this weekend. One aspect of the measures the city announced Sunday after two fatal shootings on Ocean Drive was conspicuously absent: a curfew.

City Manager Alina Hudak said in an emergency order that all alcohol sales for off-premises consumption will be banned after 6 p.m. in South Beach south of 23rd Street from Thursday to Sunday. City-owned parking garages south of 16th Street will close at 9 p.m.

Both of those measures were included in Hudak’s emergency declaration Sunday. But a divided city commission voted Monday to oppose a continuation of the midnight curfew that was in effect Sunday night into Monday.

Hudak had recommended the extended curfew and still has the power to declare one for up to 72 hours without the commission’s approval, but a city spokesperson said after Monday’s meeting that she didn’t intend to buck the elected officials’ advice.

READ MORE: Miami Beach officials vote not to extend midnight spring break curfew this weekend

The commission vote was 4-3 against implementing a curfew from Thursday night until Monday morning. Several officials raised concerns about punishing local businesses during peak tourist season and said they expect this coming weekend to be less crowded and rowdy than the last one.

This week is Miami Music Week, which features Ultra Music Festival in Miami’s Bayfront Park and other events throughout South Florida, including in Miami Beach.

Commissioners instead voted, 6-1, to support the ban on alcohol sales for off-premises consumption in South Beach after 6 p.m.. That will include package liquor stores and any other stores that sell alcohol.

Two shootings rocked Ocean Drive this past weekend amid huge spring break crowds.

On Friday night, one man was killed and another was wounded in a shooting around 10:30 p.m.

On Sunday at around 3:30 a.m., another man was killed in a gruesome shooting on a crowded sidewalk. Miami Beach police have said they believe both incidents were isolated and “targeted.” But both took place in crowded areas and put bystanders at risk, according to surveillance videos circulating online.

This past weekend brought massive crowds of college students and others looking to party in South Beach. The third weekend in March typically sees the highest volume of spring breakers, but crowds are expected to continue to gather on the beach and Ocean Drive until the end of March.

The city will keep various traffic and policing measures in place this weekend, including the use of mobile license plate readers along Fifth and 41st streets. Ocean Drive, which was closed to cars last weekend from Fifth to 13th streets during a Carnaval Miami event, will be open to cars this weekend.

City-sponsored programming will continue during the daytime, highlighted by a three-day fitness festival.