By Bobeth Yates

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Spring Break is in full swing and the crowds are much larger this year than they were for the same time last year.

“We’re very happy and surprised actually,” said Mirma Viacava, who manages a restaurant on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive.

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Viacava said the pandemic had devastating impacts on their revenue but the Spring Break crowd is helping to turn things around.

“We’re very happy, business has been increasing considerably and we needed this,” she said.

The additional customers for businesses came with a downside. Saturday night police arrested about 30 people. Friday night, officers were caught on camera body slamming a suspect as they took him into custody, for throwing money in the air and causing a larger crowd to gather.

The crowds have kept the police busy.

“This week we made over 100 arrests, 12 firearms seized, and close to 900 citations were issued,” said Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.

In addition to the increase in crime, city officials are also worried about a potential spike in COVID cases.

“We’ve got too many people coming, we’ve got too many people acting out and we have COVID at the same time. So it’s a triple threat,” said Miami Beach Mayor, Dan Gelber.

Without a statewide mask mandate, the mayor said must impose their own rules which are even more difficult with the Spring Break crowd.

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“The governor has made it difficult. We have a mask mandate, we just can’t fine anyone,” he said.

The threat of the partygoers spreading the virus concerns health experts.

“People are going on Spring Break and letting their guard down as some of these new, more infectious variants are spreading across the country,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Celine Gounder.

Despite the pandemic, those in town are enjoying their time.

“It’s doesn’t seem like COVID is even happening, there are crowds everywhere you go and nobody’s distancing or anything,” said Taylor Stebelton

But not everyone shared that attitude and adhered to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

“We’re worried about COVID, that’s the reason why we’re all walking around with masks on, but we’re also enjoying ourselves because COVID, it’s shutting down a lot of lives but you still have to enjoy yourself,” said tourist Deena Bryant.

The large crowds are expected to continue through the end of the month.

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