The mayor of Miami Beach announced Thursday that spring break in the city is "over," canceling major events such as the annual pride parade and declaring a state of emergency.
"To the extent that anyone can declare spring break is over this year, it is over this year," Mayor Dan Gelber said.
The municipality will refrain from issuing special event permits for gatherings of more than 250 people for the next 30 days. Several facilities, including the Fillmore Miami Beach and the Colony Theatre, will be closed starting Friday and until further notice. Officials said in-person meetings should be canceled or postponed or be held telephonically instead.
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"For our city, it's especially, especially difficult," Gelber said. "We are a city that takes tens of thousands of visitors every year from all over the world."
City officials said the declaration would impact Miami Beach's hotel and hospitality industry, and warned them to brace for an economic setback.
"I appreciate that this poses an incredible economic hardship to hospitality industry and businesses, but we are past the point where we can encourage or sponsor large crowds," Gelber said.
Under a state of emergency, the city manager has broad authority to set curfews, close bars and venues and other actions deemed necessary to promote social distancing.
"Part of what we're trying to do here is prevent that pandemic from growing in our community to the point it did like in New Rochelle, Washington or Italy," said city manager Jimmy Morales.
Seven miles of beaches will remain open.
"We really are a unique place, we are a point of an economic engine and it's incumbent on us to make sure we lead the way in this effort and that we have the best information available," Gelber said.