SEASIDE, Fla. (WMBB)–On a summer night in June, Seaside is usually bustling with people. But now, that’s all about to change. The Seaside Development Corporation is implementing an 8:00 p.m. curfew for those 21 and under as well as businesses.
“To mitigate the destruction of property, to mitigate any sorts of issues or incidents with the crowd, we’ve decided that for the safety of our guests and our staff especially that we’re gonna have this curfew in place,” said Kevin Boyle, Seaside’s Director of Events.
While the new curfew will help with social distancing, Boyle says it’s mainly a matter of public safety as they’re seeing thousands of teens enter the area each night.
“It becomes unruly, it becomes a place where it’s not safe for one of our courtesy team members to walk up to a group and ask them to disperse,” said Boyle.
The curfew will also apply to businesses. Charlie Modica with Modica Market says they too are feeling overwhelmed from the crowds and are all for the new curfew.
“They’ve taken this very seriously and so have all the merchants and I think in the long run everyone’s gonna appreciate that they’ve gone to these steps to ensure everyone’s health,” said Modica.
Some kids visiting Seaside say they understand why the new rule has been put in place.
“No one is wearing a facemask or anything so I think an 8 o’clock curfew is unfortunate but it makes sense,” said Max Orston, a tourist.
“That’s a good idea to have a curfew earlier so that way there’s not as many people crowded together,” said Madison Lovitt, another tourist.
There are exceptions though. Bud & Alley’s, Pizza Bar and Great Southern will be allowed to stay open past 8:00 p.m. by reservation only.
With businesses being closed at 8:00 p.m., Boyle says it will be easier to disperse crowds as they will have a better understanding of what groups are using the district simply as a gathering place.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing the new curfew as well as those working in the Seaside Commercial District.