PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — March 1 is just around the corner, which means Panama City Beach officials are preparing for spring breakers.
Thursday morning, the beach city council passed an ordinance restricting gatherings of more than 125 people on the white sand.
Panama City Beach mayor Mark Sheldon said officials are ready to lay down the law.
“March first means no alcohol on the white sandy beaches, bars close at two a.m. not four a.m. and now there are no special events for over 125 people,” Sheldon said.
The restrictions will be in place from March 1 to March 31, Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman asked the council to consider this ordinance.
“The reason for that is there are groups out there wanting to get 500 or more people for large events and I think that is sending the wrong image to some of the families,” Whitman said.
The council passed this law mostly out of concern for large sponsored parties. Chief Whitman said there is a zero tolerance policy during the entire month. If you are breaking the laws he will shut you down.
“The ones who want to come down and violate that we have zero tolerance,” Whitman said. “We will put them in jail.”
The chief said the rules also apply to gatherings in parking lots to avoid problems that have happened in the past.
He said being the party pooper is not his goal, but these rules are in place for the safety of everyone.
“I don’t want to shut it down,” Whitman said. “I want kids to have a good time, but I want it to be fun, no one gets hurt, and no one comes back with COVID.”