PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– The city of Panama City Beach is doubling down on its double red flag ordinance in an effort to keep the community safe.
Previously, the first offense for swimming in double red flag waters was a warning, a second offense resulted in a $250 fine, and then a $500 fine.
Thursday, the Panama City Beach council officially adopted the ruling that a warning may or may not be given to those swimming during double red flag conditions. The fine is also now raised to $500 with the second offense resulting in a $1,000 fine.
Councilman Geoff McConnell said issuing a warning had become difficult for code enforcement officers as it was difficult to remember who had been warned and who had not been.
“It became a difficult problem in enforcement so we removed that and bumped up the provisions to be able to fine them more so it was a bigger deterrent,” McConnell said.
The city also said the $500 fine can be reduced to $250 if you pay the fine within 20 days.