Spring breakers expecting to party in South Beach until the crack of dawn will be forced to stop drinking at 2 a.m. for two weeks in March under a new alcohol ban that will be in effect for the city’s most popular nightlife areas.

Between March 7 and March 21, the sale and consumption of alcohol will be prohibited after 2 a.m. in South Beach’s world-famous entertainment district after city commissioners voted Wednesday to roll back the current 5 a.m. cut-off time for booze sales in place throughout much of the city. The change applies to all businesses south of 16th Street that allow on-site consumption.

The proposal was approved in a 4-3 vote despite pleas from several nightlife operators and employees who said limiting alcohol service would cost them money and create an unfair advantage for clubs, restaurants and hotels in the rest of the city.

“It’s just picking winners and losers. It’s wrong,” said Jimmy Resnick, the landlord for South Beach club Exchange Miami.

Those in favor of the temporary 2 a.m. ban, including Mayor Dan Gelber, argued it was necessary to free up police resources and ensure public safety during the height of spring break around St. Patrick’s Day. A handful of residents spoke up in support as well.

The new legislation comes on the heels of last year’s spring break, which saw large crowds force the city to impose an 8 p.m. curfew and shut down its major causeways amid public disorder and clashes with police.

“For the hardship it may deliver, I’m sorry,” Gelber said. “But from our point of view, going through that two-week period … is a danger to the public. It’s a proven danger to the public.”

Critics of the proposal note, however, that the challenges from last spring break came during a COVID-era midnight curfew imposed by Miami-Dade County. They say it will not make the city safer but instead force customers into the street at the same time.

“During the pandemic, the bars were closed. But yet we had the worst experiences in Miami Beach,” said Commissioner David Richardson, who voted against the measure.

This story was originally published February 23, 2022 7:34 PM.

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Martin Vassolo covers the politics and government of Miami Beach for the Miami Herald. He began working for the Herald in January 2018 after attending the University of Florida, where he served as the editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator. Previously, he was a general assignment reporter on the Herald’s metro desk and a political reporting intern.