BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Local leaders said they don’t want a repeat of last year’s ‘Panamaniac Takeover’, which resulted in violence, vandalism, 161 arrests, and the seizure of 75 guns.
So the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Panama City Police, and Panama City Beach Police will activate Special Event Zones this weekend.
“It allows the Sheriff or the county or municipal administrator, in other words, county manager, city manager to create a Special Event Zone when there is an unpermitted event that is advertised on social media anticipated to be attended by over 50 people,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.
Within the zones, officers or deputies can double traffic fines, tow vehicles for criminal or non-criminal violations, and monitor the capacity of businesses.
“Doesn’t create a curfew it doesn’t hinder citizens’ movement from those areas or anybody’s movement to those areas,” Ford said. “What it does is allows that people are violating the law, they’re breaking the law, there are some enhanced penalties due to the disruption to citizens’ lives of these unpermitted again, unpermitted events.”
This map shows Bay County’s zone, it includes Laurie Avenue to the west end of Thomas Drive and south to the Gulf. It bumps up against the Panama City Beach city limits.
Beach police will have two zones. The east end zone begins at Joan Avenue, goes west along Front Beach Road to Richard Jackson Boulevard, and north to Back Beach Road. It includes places like Pineapple Willy’s and the Shores of Panama.
The second zone runs from West Pier Park Drive to Hills Road, between Front Beach and Back Beach roads.
Panama City also has two zones. One is located along Business/Highway 98, from East Avenue to Everitt Avenue. It includes Bambi’s Strip Club.
The other runs along Highway 98, from the Hathaway Bridge to Michigan Avenue. It includes Vibez Nightclub and the Gold Nugget Strip Club.
“It starts at 8 a.m. on Friday morning, ends at 4 a.m. on Monday morning,” Ford said. “That would take us through and take us through all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, into the evening hours of Sunday.”