DeSantis erodes Florida’s COVID rules — and spring breakers go wild

DeSantis early this month abolished fines on people and businesses for violating local pandemic orders, launching his latest push to convince pandemic-weary tourists that Florida is safe. The governor had already rolled back restrictions on bars and restaurants — even as new coronavirus variants were predicted to drive up the rate of new Covid infections through spring break.

The DeSantis ban on fines came to the forefront over the weekend in Miami Beach, where a surge of spring break visitors filled the island city well beyond its capacity. Officials in Miami Beach, which relies heavily on tourism dollars, were forced to impose an 8 p.m. curfew on the city’s entertainment district in the middle of its most lucrative season of the year after police clashed with party-goers.

“DeSantis rolled out the red carpet for visitors, and he left us to deal with the aftermath,” said Miami Beach City Commissioner David Richardson, a Democrat. “People call it spring break and I correct them — this is a high impact period.”