Beach restaurant receives citation for not following social distancing practices

Panama City Beach

BAY COUNTY, (Fla) — Friday Panama City Beach law enforcement began keeping a close watch on restaurants to make sure they comply with the governor’s executive order.

Panama City Beach officials say they have reminded restaurants to comply with social distancing laws plenty of times

“We don’t have enough officers to tell people to do the right thing,” said Tony O’Rourke, City Manager of Panama City Beach. “People have to do the right thing because it’s the right thing.”

Law enforcement began going to restaurants on friday to make sure they were operating at 50% capacity with proper distance between tables.

Officials were excited to see most restaurants following the rules however they did have to give out one citation to Harpoon Harry’s on Front Beach Road for not complying with the law.

“We understand that people are tired of following rules and this pandemic has gone on for longer than we hoped but it’s still here and if we don’t continue to be vigilant it will get worse not better,” said O’Rourke.

O’Rourke said once the citation was given to Harpoon Harrys they quickly corrected what they did wrong and have not been a problem since.

Panama City Beach officials say they will continue to give citations to restaurants not practicing social distancing for as long as necessary.

Both the officials and people around town think restaurants should follow the regulations not just to protect themselves but for others as well. Even tourists feel more comfortable going into businesses knowing they are following the regulations.” 

“This is global so lets learn from other people around the world and put those best practices into practice,” said O’Rourke. 

O’Rourke said he knows most of the city’s income is from tourism so that is why they will do everything they can to keep restaurants open. Although, in order to make that happen everyone must play their part in keeping the people safe to stop the spread of the virus. 

“This is about our health and it shouldn’t be about anything other than that,” said Janelle Harrison. 

Officials also encourage people to wear a mask to stop the spread of the virus and take the extra precautions when inside crowded spaces.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News Video

Lindenwood Drive to be improved

A local couple gets welcomed home in style

PCMI applies to be charter school

Mask Donation at Arc of the Bay

Jackson County Enrollment Update

30-A communities implemented their own mask mandate

More Local News

Golf Pass