July 4th brings heavy beach crowds amid local COVID-19 spike

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Hundreds of people celebrated their 4th of July on the beach, even amid a rise in COVID-19 cases locally.

Tents, towels and umbrellas could be seen for miles along the white sandy beaches, as well as police officers trying to make sure people are following social-distancing guidelines.

This comes as the Health Department announced 59 additional COVID-19 cases in Bay County on Saturday, bringing the total to 684 cases.

One visitor on the beach said the virus seems to be at the back of people’s minds, if at all. 

“We’re kind of keeping our distance from everybody else, we’re trying to find a certain area but I don’t think people out here are focusing on social-distancing at all,” said Kyler Forsythe, a visitor from Georgia. “I don’t think they really care about COVID-19.”

The Health Department along with local government leaders is encouraging everyone to continue to follow social-distancing guidelines as well as mask-wearing, even on vacation. 

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