PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach City Council members are preparing for the arrival of spring breakers. That means implementing ordinances to control the crowds, among other things.
They are planning to continue one of the spring break measures they implemented several years ago.
It would close the beach, from just west of Boardwalk Resort to Churchwell Drive, each night from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. It will be in effect from March 10th until April 30th.
“It just makes a collection point of kids that sometimes forget how to have a proper good time so instead of going down there and having to set up a police officer to deal with two, three, 400 kids at a time, we just shut that portion of the beach down periodically and we find it to be successful,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said.
The city still has an alcohol ban on the sandy beaches for the month of March. And there’s a year-round ban on alcohol in parking lots and loud music.
“Talking to the sheriffs, the state attorney’s office, all of the local law enforcement officials here, we all are saying the same message,” Talamantez said. “Come here, have fun, leave with good memories, not a criminal record.”
Council members are also considering another ordinance in time for spring break, but not necessarily because of spring break.
It would regulate storage boxes and beach rental equipment. It would also allow hotels and restaurants to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages to people on the sandy beach.
“Any facility that operates a restaurant or serves food and beverage on the beach will be held accountable for the cleanliness of that beach,” Councilman Michael Jarman said.
It would change the rules for beach bonfires. Propane fires would be allowed, but wood fires would be banned.
“It’s creating a level of amenity for people that come down to the beach, bonfires and the boxes that’s for safety and appearance of the beach,” Jarman said. “What we are trying to do is really clean things up to where you can have a great time here.”
The ordinances will be up for a vote on March 9th.