About 100 people have been arrested and two police officers injured as spring break crowds gathered in Florida’s Miami Beach over the weekend, the city says.
Miami Beach Police arrested 30 people Saturday night, following Friday night’s unruly crowds that resulted in two Miami Beach police officers being sent to the hospital with injuries, the police department said in a post on Twitter.
Friday night’s incident involved a large crowd which was “disorderly and surrounding officers,” another tweet said. Miami Beach police tweeted that they used pepper balls to disperse the group.
CNN affiliate WPLG reported that Miami Beach police officers are working 12-hour shifts.
The weekend’s approximately 100 arrests included some for the seizure of weapons and drugs, city of Miami Beach spokeswoman Veronica Payssé told CNN on Sunday.
Spring break during a pandemic
Payssé said the issues are typical for each year’s spring break crowds, but that Covid-19 protocols made the task of policing the crowds twice as hard.
The state of Florida does not allow local jurisdictions to fine people for violating mask orders, and the city can only offer free masks in hopes that people wear them, Payssé said.
Florida is a popular spring break destination, and some of its beaches have been packed.
“We’re seeing too much spring break activity,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN Saturday morning. “We’ve got a problem with too many people coming here, we’ve got a problem with too many people coming here to let loose.”
“We are concerned,” the mayor said. “It’s very challenging.”
‘A little crazy’
Further north, in Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County, some beachgoers were trying to factor in the pandemic, CNN affiliate WFTS reported.
Jamin Stuhr – visiting from Iowa – said he understood how people could forget about Covid-19, but he and his friends were trying to remember.
“It’s just really important to keep everyone safe especially the more prone to getting it and getting really sick from it,” he told WFTS. The group said they were wearing masks on the street and staying with their own group.
Local resident Tanya Landry told WFTS she set up her chair to ensure social distancing on the beach and avoided crowds.
“A little bit during the beginning of spring break here it got a little crazy, the bars got a little crazy, very busy, people without masks on, so but we tend to stay away from that,” she said.
The Florida Department of Health reported 1,973,109 Covid-19 cases Saturday, an increase of 5,167 cases since Friday.
Cases in Florida have been on an uptick for the last five days after seeing a decline in the previous days, data from the FLDH dashboard shows.
The state’s health department website shows that a majority of the new cases were from Miami-Dade and Broward counties, with more than 677 new cases reported in each county.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.