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100 arrested as spring break crowds hit Miami Beach despite the pandemic

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The incident on Friday night involved a large crowd that was “messy and surrounding officers,” another tweet said. Miami Beach police tweeted that they used pepper balls to disperse the group.

The approximately 100 arrests over the weekend included some for the confiscation of weapons and drugs, Miami Beach City spokeswoman Veronica Payssé told CNN on Sunday.

Spring break during a pandemic

Payssé said the problems are typical of spring holiday crowds each year, but that the Covid-19 protocols made the task of monitoring 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 will wear them, Payssé said.

Florida is a popular destination for spring break and some of its beaches have been filled.

“We’re seeing too much spring break activity,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Saturday morning. “We have a problem with too many people coming here, we have a problem with too many people coming here to let go.”

“We’re worried,” the mayor said. “It’s very difficult”.

“A little crazy”

Further north, in Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County, some beaches were trying to account for the pandemic. WFTS, affiliated with CNN.

Jamin Stuhr, a Iowa visitor, said he understood how people could forget about Covid-19, but he and his friends were trying to remember it.

“It’s really important to keep everyone safe, especially those most likely to suffer from it and get sick of it,” he told WFTS. The group said they wore masks on the street and stayed with their own group.

Local resident Tanya Landry told WFTS that she installed her chair to ensure social distancing on the beach and avoid congestion.

“A little bit during the start of the spring break here it got a little crazy, the bars got a little crazy, very busy, people without masks put on, so we tend to stay away from that,” he said.

The Florida Department of Health reported 1,973,109 cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, an increase of 5,167 cases since Friday.

Cases in Florida have risen over the past five days after seeing a decline in previous days, according to data from the FLDH control panel.

The state health department website shows that most of the new cases came from Miami-Dade and Broward counties, with more than 677 new cases reported in each county.

Hollie Silverman and Amanda Watts of CNN contributed to this report.

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