PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Labor Day weekend tends to draw in huge crowds to Panama City Beach, mostly for events like Gulf Coast Jam.
But this year those events were cancelled because of COVID-19.
Traffic on Panama City Beach roads may look like it’s died down, but Colby LaDuke, the Operations Director for Calypso Resort with Panhandle Getaways, said that’s not the case.
“As far as Labor Day goes we are booked to capacity and we are ready to go and ready for our guests to get here,” LaDuke said.
Friday morning you could see visitors unpacking their cars and checking into condos like the Calypso Resort.
Gay and Kyle Winters are visiting the areas. They said event cancellations are not going to stop them from spending a three day weekend at the beach.
“I was originally coming down for Gulf Coast Jam but unfortunately it was canceled but we’re still here and ready to have a good time,” Winters said. “We’re a little bummed but we’re going to make up for it on the beach.”
LaDuke said the demand has been high all summer and the same goes for restaurants.
Pineapple Willys CEO Melissa Traxler said they’re preparing for a packed weekend.
“This has been the biggest summer we’ve ever had so we expect this to be another huge weekend,” Traxler said.
She said they’ve been opening a half hour earlier than usual to accommodate the constant flow of customers.
“The whole place is full everyday all day long all summer,” Traxler said.
Local tourism officials verify event cancellations don’t seem to be deterring the crowds from flocking to the beaches.
This summer the area has reached “pre-pandemic” levels and despite the event cancelations they are confident those trends will continue into the fall.