PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City does not change any of its laws for Spring Break, but that doesn’t mean local authorities aren’t preparing.
Vibez nightclub was the scene of a huge brawl last May. The owners shut their doors for a few weeks and came up with new security procedures.
This week, they said they’re working with Panama City police to avoid another scene like this.
“We’ve been talking about Spring Break and how we as a city intend to handle spring break, the police department, and basically what was their plans and what could we expect and working together in trying to control some of the chaos that we saw last year and not have a repeat of that this year,” Panama City Police Chief Mark Smith said.
During March, Panama City Beach cuts off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. Some of the crowds cross the bridge into Panama City where bars can stay open until 4 a.m.
“Some of the bar owners over here are deciding that, well, we’re going to follow suit and close early because we don’t want that issue,” Smith said. “And then some of the other ones are agreeing that, look, if you tell us that it’s going to be a problem, that we are willing to work with you and help control it or even if necessary, voluntarily close early to slow down the difficulties.”
Vibez management told News 13 they believe last year’s chaos resulted because an outside promoter shared their events on social media.
Vibez is taking precautions for its Spring Break events this year.
They’ve hired a private security team to work the parking lot, the front door, and inside the club. They also have a new ID scanner to alert staff to individuals who’ve been banned from the club.
All local law enforcement said they’ll be working together to keep all of the counties’ nightclubs safe.
“It’s a collaborative effort to help control the issues and make sure that all the community of the entire area is safe and so that the folks can come and have a good time,” Smith said.
Chief Smith said he’s also increasing patrols during scheduled Spring Break events.