PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The weekend’s beach violence has Panama City Commissioners considering alcohol sales restrictions.

They’re discussing an ordinance that would cut-off alcohol sales after 2 a.m. in March and April.

City commissioners called a special meeting Wednesday to hold a first reading for the change. 

Panama City Police Chief Mark Smith said right now he has little to no power to truly address a situation like this weekend’s past public safety. 

“Part of what this ordinance is doing is giving the ability to be a little more proactive to work with the business and try to seek a partnership with the business, the late-night businesses, to help control the issue before it becomes an issue,” Smith said.

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The proposal would back-up closing time in Panama City from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m.

That mirrors the alcohol sales hours for Panama City Beach and Bay County during the month of March. 

Smith said they saw some real crowd and traffic congestion issues on Friday and Saturday, leading them to intervene in shutting down one nightclub, arrest 34 people, and seize 11 guns. 

“There was not a target of any club and one of the things that everyone needs to realize is when the fire marshall came out on Saturday he went to all the clubs,” Smith said. “He found three of them in violation and those three clubs he emptied.”

One of the clubs has an occupancy limit of 294 people including employees. Smith said they had around 900 people inside. 

“Then he tried to let the count back in,” Smith said. “We were successful and continued operations. The one could not control the crowd and they chose to close. That was their decision.”

But dozens of local bar owners are opposing the change. 

“We see a lot of people being punished for things we weren’t involved in,” Scott Jackson, General Manager of the Salty Hobo said. 

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Jackson said a lot of their customers are service industry employees who come after 2 a.m.

He said he’s not worried about his business, but his employees.

“We are going to have to figure out a way to take care of our staff and keep them employed and making money,” Jackson said. “So we are going to have to make adjustments as a whole.”

Jackson said his whole family works in this business so making these changes would also have a major effect on his personal life. 

He thinks city commissioners should find another solution to this issue.

“Instead of punishing everyone, there should be things put in place for businesses that don’t abide by the rules, who don’t do what needs to be done to fix the problems they’re having,” Jackson said.

Panama City Commissioners will discuss possible changes to the ordinance and reconsider the plan again during their April 12 meeting.