A Florida beach hotspot has banned Spring Breakers from out of state who are under 23 years old, as they brace themselves for an influx of thousands of college students amid COVID-19 concerns.
The Wharf announced on Friday that throughout March, it will not allow in anyone from out-of-state who is younger than 23 in a further effort to curb Spring Break debauchery.
The popular bar said in an Instagram post that guests who have out-of-state IDs will be restricted to those 23 or older.
Partygoers had already crowded onto beaches and into bars and restaurants in Florida on Friday, as the first students began to arrive and set about enjoying the state’s weather and the lax coronavirus restrictions.
Students ignored pleas from city officials hoping to prevent the wave of young people from descending on the state in the coming weeks.
Several Florida cities have made attempts to impose further restrictions as they fear that the Spring Break ritual could result in a spike in cases as it did last year when the pandemic had just reached the United States.
In Miami Beach, a midnight curfew is in place and patrols have been beefed to stop alcohol consumption on the beach, while in Fort Lauderdale, steel barriers have been erected between bars to enforce social distancing.
Yet students who have already arrived in Florida argue that they are not vulnerable to COVID-19 and so the extra restrictions are not needed.
Florida is bracing itself for an influx of thousands of college students as Spring Breakers return to party despite COVID-19 concerns and the high numbers of new cases in the state. Pictured, Spring Breakers party on Friday
Pictured, women sunbathe in the sand as they celebrate spring break, amid the coronavirus disease
Spring Breakers enjoy themselves at Cafe Ibiza in Fort Lauderdale as the party kicked off on Friday
Afternoon partiers crowd the sidewalk Thursday as Spring Break ramps up on Fort Lauderdale beach
The beach was crowded in Fort Lauderdale on Friday as Spring Break is starting to ramp up and more students arrive
The Wharf in Forterdale announced on Friday on Instagram that throughout March, it will not allow in anyone from out-of-state who is younger than 23 in a further effort to curb Spring Break debauchery, as pictured above
The Wharf said in an Instagram post that guests who have out-of-state IDs will be restricted to those 23 or older
Afternoon partiers crowd the outdoor area of Cafe Ibiza in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday as Spring Break parties began
People gather at a bar during spring break festivities in Miami Beach on Friday night
People walk without masks along Ocean Drive during spring break in Miami Beach on Friday night
A police officer patrols Ocean Drive in Miami Beach as Spring Break kicks off this week
People walk near the beach in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday where officials have tried to bring in tighter restrictions
A heavy police presence patrols the beach in Fort Lauderdale on Friday as Spring Break begins
The Ft. Lauderdale Fire Department watches to make sure vacationers are safe as spring break begins in Fort Lauderdale
Colleges across the United State had canceled Spring Break hoping that students would not congregate in vacation spots this year amid the ongoing pandemic.
Yet with many young people tired of winter storms, lockdown and low on the list for a vaccine, the cheap flights, and hotels – as well as its more lenient restrictions on nightclubs and bars – have still enticed them to Florida.
‘We just needed a vacation away from the city,’ 23-year-old medical student Quinaysa Shirikico told the Wall Street Journal. ‘We needed some heat in our lives.’
On Friday, massive groups of young people were pictured congregating on the state’s beaches without masks as they kicked off their vacation.
‘Just look at the beach. They’re out in full force. And this is the start of Spring Break. It’s only going to get more crazy,’ Lauren Tedeschi, 53, told the Sun Sentinel of the crowds. ‘I knew the Spring Breakers would show up’.
People walk along Ocean Drive during spring break festivities in Miami Beach on Friday
evelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break as they crowd together without masks on Friday
People watch the sunset as thousands descend on Miami Beach for Spring Break this week
Revelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break in Fort Lauderdale on Friday
College students were pictured gathered in large groups without masks on Fort Lauderdale’s beaches on Friday
People enjoy themselves on the beach in Fort Lauderdale despite local authorities ramping up restrictions
College students have begun to arrive in the South Florida area for the annual spring break ritual, as pictured Friday
City officials are anticipating a large spring break crowd (as pictured above) as the coronavirus pandemic continues
And in nearby bars, rowdy groups were also snapped crowded together.
‘Florida hasn’t skipped a beat,’ 21-year-old Jack Gumeinny told the Sun Sentinel. ‘I was here two years ago and came back to see what it’s like now with COVID’.
‘We’re not in the at-risk group,’ he said of he and his friends who had flown from Michigan. Gumeinny said they were planning to head on a bar crawl and a strip club and didn’t feel too concerned about social distancing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, ticketing website Eventbrite is rife with Florida party events, including a mansion party named ‘Miami Gone Wild’ and another named ‘Bikini Palooza’.
While some nightclubs remain closed because of the financial constraints of having to close at midnight in Miami Beach, demand remains strong.
‘My phone has not stopped ringing,’ Promoter Ernesto White told the Journal. ‘South Beach is going to be jam-packed crazy.’
On the beaches, patrols have increased in frequency as Miami Beach takes a zero-tolerance policy toward drinking and looks to enforce social distancing between groups when needed.
A performer sings at a bar in Miami Beach as floods of Spring Breakers descend on the city
College studenst were already spending their days partying on the beach during Spring Break in Miami Beach
Crowds remained on the beach late into the evening on Friday as Spring Break kicked off in Miami Beach
College students snapped photos as they lapped up the sun at the start of Spring Break on Friday
College coeds crowd into Cafe Ibiza in Fort Lauderdale Thursday as some revelers said they weren’t concerned about COVID
Police patrol the area in front of Cafe Ibiza in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday as Spring Break crowds swarm the beach
Fort Lauderdale cops have ramped up patrols ahead of the swarm of thousands of college students for Spring Break
Florida bars can all operate at over 50% capacity, according to a September order from Gov. Ron deSantis
Beach patrols in Florida have been ramped up to enforce social distancing and mask wearing
College students continue to flock to Florida for Spring Break as they search for an escape amid the pandemic
A woman takes a photo in front of the beach as spring break begins in Fort Lauderdale
A woman selling colorful umbrellas walks through the main avenue as revelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break
People walk near the beach in Fort Lauderdale as Spring Breakers began to arrive this week
Between February 22 and April 12, restrictions in the city have been beefed up with the highest number of young travelers expected to arrive throughout March.
Cops and code-compliance staffers will ban both alcohol and boom boxes from beaches, while ensuring that music in bars is kept only to an ambience level.
The city will also clamp down on those on boats who lack proper licenses or violate noise restrictions as they hope to avoid students taking the party from the sand onto the water.
City manager Raul Aguila told the Journal that no permits will be issued for special events in the main entertainment district with one request for a 900-person pool party already turned down.
‘If you are coming here with an anything-goes party attitude, change your flight reservation now and go to Vegas,’ Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila said. ‘Miami Beach is not going to tolerate anarchy.’
Elsewhere, Fort Lauderdale has vowed to enforce restrictions on alcohol and beach tents, while St. Petersburg and Clearwater launched campaigns to ensure visitors wear masks.
Yet, local officials have been held back by an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis who declared in September that all bars and restaurants would be allowed to operate with at least 50 percent capacity, with city authorities losing the ability to bring down the capacity cap or to enforce shutdowns again.
DeSantis has been opposed to lockdowns and restrictions since the very start of the pandemic and has continued to welcome travelers even as new cases refused to drop.
‘We could potentially see a truly outsized spring break at a time when the last thing we want are major gatherings,’ Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a Democrat, told the Wall Street Journal.
Spring Breakers leaving the beach on Friday as part of the first group to arrive for Spring Break
People watch the sunset during spring break festivities in Miami Beach on Friday
The Ft. Lauderdale Police Department drive around as they overlook spring breakers on Friday
A man takes a selfie as revelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break despite the ongoing pandemic
College students were snapped without masks as they strolled around Fort Lauderdale on Friday
A man throws a football as revelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break on Florida beaches
In Fort Lauderdale (pictured), steel barriers have been erected between bars to enforce social distancing
Fort Lauderdale police patrol the beach as spring breakers enjoy themselves this week
College students play soccer on the beach as their Spring Break vacation begins in Florida
Some residents have already voiced their concern at seeing the first of the students crammed into bars.
‘They did not have masks on. It looked like a dance club,’ Fort Lauderdale resident Chad McCoury said of a video of a crowd dancing at a bar.
Broward Mayor Steve Geller said that he had sent the video on to county code enforcement.
‘We’re in the middle of a pandemic,’ Geller said. ‘I’m not opposed to college kids having fun — just not in the middle of a pandemic.’
It comes as Florida remains in the top ten states in terms of new daily COVID-19 cases with Miami-Dade County having one of the highest positivity rates in the state.
On Thursday, Florida reported 5,975 new cases and 135 deaths with 1.9million complete vaccines. The state has now recorded a known total of 1,936,207 coronavirus cases and 32,093 total deaths.
On Thursday, Florida reported 5,975 new cases (graph of new cases pictured above) and 135 deaths with 1.9million complete vaccines. However, the seven-day average for new cases has been declining since January 8
Deaths from coronavirus have been dropping in the last week in Florida ahead of Spring Break (as pictured)
However, the seven-day average for new cases has been declining since January 8. There are currently 3,419 people hospitalized with the virus, far below the 9,500-patient peak in late July.
The travel industry revealed on Thursday that just 12 percent of American are planning a spring break trip this year even as tens of millions of Americans get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The U.S. Travel Association said polling that it commissioned suggested Americans remained wary about travel and that it was ‘far from clear when demand for travel will rebound on its own.’
The industry said the number planning to travel for spring break fell from 16 percent in a poll a week earlier.
The group believes travel demand will see a significant rebound by Memorial Day on May 31.
President Joe Biden said this week the United States would have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still discouraging Americans from any non-essential travel.