COVID-19-Driven Spring Break Beach Ban to Disperse College Students Has Roots as Far Back as 1960s

By  //  March 30, 2020

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The 'Spring Break' tradition began when the City of Fort Lauderdale began hosting dances

The COVID-19 beach ban has its roots as far back as the 1960s when unruly college students showed up every year on Florida’s beaches to party during “Spring Break.” (Florida Historical Society image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The COVID-19 beach ban has its roots as far back as the 1960s when unruly college students showed up every year on Florida’s beaches to party during “Spring Break.”

The “Spring Break” tradition began when the City of Fort Lauderdale began hosting dances during the seasonal spring break period.

As detailed by the Florida Historical Society recently, a three-day riot between collegians and police during Spring Break began in Fort Lauderdale in March 1967 in which at least 500 people were arrested as a result.

The riot started when a student laid down in the middle of State Road A1A and the police were forced to intervene.

By the 1960s, the sun, beaches and beer made south Florida the destination for college students on Spring Break.

As one coed quoted in “Time” magazine said at the time, “It’s where the boys are.”

That quote prompted a book and movie that put a winsome face on a seasonal influx of tourists that has become increasingly unwelcome in Fort Lauderdale.

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