FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Crowd At Miami Beach In March 2021?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show a crowd at Miami Beach, Florida, in March 2021.

Verdict: False

The image was actually taken in March 2019, not March 2021.

Fact Check:

Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber on March 20 declared a state of emergency and instated a curfew due to the large crowds flocking to the beaches for spring break despite the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN reported. Florida has been “mostly restriction-free” throughout the pandemic, according to the outlet.

Now, some social media users have been sharing an image showing a large, tightly-packed crowd of people on a beach. The image’s caption reads: “Today’s center of the #COVIDIOTS universe is Miami Beach, Florida. Then again, it’s usually somewhere in Florida.”

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the photo published in a March 2019 article by the South Florida Sun Sentinel about Miami Beach cracking down on spring breakers. According to its caption, the photo dates back to at least March of that year, months before the novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, late 2019.

“Spring Break crowds gathered at Eighth Street beach in Miami Beach last weekend. The city is launching a new aggressive approach to better handle the large college invasion,” reads the photo’s caption, which attributes the photo to the Miami Beach Police Department. (RELATED: Trump Claims No Presidential Candidate ‘Has Ever Won Both Florida And Ohio And Lost’ The Election) 

Some MSNBC personalities, such as anchor Joy Reid and MSNBC analyst Fernand R. Amandi, also spread the false claim that the image was from 2021 on Twitter. Amandi later acknowledged the image was not from this year.

“It has come to my attention that the picture in the original tweet isn’t from this week, but that does not change the fact that Miami Beach has been overrun by thousands of maskless Spring Breakers who are not abiding by the CDC pandemic guidelines as these recent photos confirm,” Amandi tweeted.

While the image in the Facebook post does not show spring breakers in Miami during the pandemic, Insider published several photos showing maskless crowds on beaches and in bars in Miami in March 2021. Florida has reported over 2 million COVID-19 cases and over 32,000 deaths during the pandemic, according to The New York Times.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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