The pandemic did not halt many Labor Day plans


BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — As another labor day winds down, it appears the pandemic did not put a halt on many people’s plans.

Panama City Beach officials said the holiday weekend was quite busy, which they were not expecting. But they were prepared.

“Maybe rivaling fourth of July crowds,” said Wil Spivey the Beach Safety Director for Panama City Beach Fire Rescue.

After a week of red flags, this past weekend had clear surf for all beach visitors.

“It’s as crowded as I’ve ever seen it on the weekends. So I think we are making up for lost time, and then some,” said Spivey.

“Yeah, we had a good weekend,” said visitor Andy Castillo. 

Castillo and his family came to the Panhandle from Dallas for their long weekend vacation, which they have done annually. Castillo said although it was busy he had seen it worse.

“It’s been more full than other years,” said Castillo.

Tim Smith, the Battalion Chief at Panama City Beach Fire Department said, they have seen a steady influx of people over this past weekend, which was slightly unexpected due to the virus.

“Where the streets were a lot busier than they have been in the past weeks,” said Smith.

With added vehicles and golf carts to roadways, residents can expect to see traffic.

“In the next 24 hours, it should expect to disappear and get back to normal,” said Smith.

Chief Smith said with heavy beach traffic all weekend long, a few accidents were expected.

“Anytime you add that amount of people to the beach, you end up with a certain amount of calls that are just typical,” said Smith.

Although traffic is just as heavy as years past, Chief Smith said the good news is that they have seen fewer beach rescues over this past weekend than years prior.

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