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Mexico Beach enforcing no beach parking rule

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MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — As beachgoers continue to enjoy the sun and sand in Mexico Beach, city officials are trying to make one thing very clear.

“We do not support or promote people coming to Mexico Beach for the purpose of using our beaches,” said Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey.

Cathey also said that the city has seen an influx of non-local visitors coming to use the beach since others in the area and around the state are closed. 

To avoid closing the beaches because of this issue, city officials are trying something new.

“Instead of closing the beach, we closed all public beach access parking,” said Cathey.

After the decision was made on Thursday, he and other residents hope that it will be enough, since the beach is one of the only things holding up one of the hardest-hit communities by Hurricane Michael. 

“I’m glad that the locals can still have something to enjoy down there,” said Randy Howell, a resident in Mexico Beach.  “It’s been a long time getting our houses back, mine is just now being put back together.”

But other residents don’t think the new rule is enough, saying the beaches need to be closed to prevent the continued spread of coronavirus.

In the meantime, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Mexico Beach Fire Rescue are patrolling the beaches trying to enforce the rule.

“If you don’t have anywhere to park then you’re not going to be able to go down to the beach unless you have a house that’s close-by,” said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford.

The new rule will be enforced through the weekend.

The city is also putting up “no parking” signage along US-98 and the city right-of-ways and beach accesses. 

The issue will come back to the table on Tuesday, March 31st,  at 1 pm to determine if the measures are working or if the beaches need to be closed down in Mexico Beach after all. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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