Panama City Beach announces rules and ordinances for Spring Break
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The beginning of March officially kicks off the Spring Break Season as students travel to their desired destinations. Panama City being a popular spot for spring breakers, officials are prepared for the crowd of students coming to the beaches with new ordinances designed to keep the peace.
You may recall last year 161 people were arrested in one weekend at Panama City Beach, and 11 of those arrested were from the WTVM Viewing Area.
Officials want all visitors to enjoy the beaches and have a safe memorable trip but with that comes following the rules. Officials said any violations of the law can result in jail time, fines and a criminal record. They also want to remind people coming from out of state that a permit is required to carry a concealed weapon, and people without one will be arrested.
“We went from fist fights to shootings and it’s unacceptable,” said Police Chief J.R Talamantez.
Panama City Beach is a popular destination for students to travel for their Spring Break, but according to police chief J.R Talamantez the behavior of spring breakers has changed over the years and that will not be tolerated.
Talamantez said their main priority is to ensure the safety of residents, businesses and visitors while enforcing the laws within the community.
“Local officials, as well as local law enforcement, got together and during that time and created what we call Spring Break ordinances to try to curve the behavior and prevent people from coming down here to destroy our city,” said Police Chief J.R Talamantez.
During the month of March, law enforcement officials are reminding beachgoers about rules and regulations. For example, no alcohol at the beaches, commercial parking lots or inside vehicles. All alcohol sales end at 2 am, and no open house parties.
The Mayor of Panama City says last year they were seeing an influx of visitors in late-night businesses who were not prepared for large crowds when things got out of hand. This year, city officials passed an ordinance where the police chief can shut down any business without a court order if there are public safety issues.
“We want any and all visitors to come as long as they behave and we’ve established those protocols with the businesses when any type of event that they are going up and make sure they are prepared on their end to handle for crowd control. As long as they behave, they’re welcome,” said Panama City Mayor, Greg Brudnicki.
“If you come here for the purpose of committing crimes thinking you’re going to do with whatever the heck you want to do…you’re wrong, and instead of checking into your hotel you will be checking into the Bay County Jail,” said Police Chief J.R Talamantez.
This Friday a new ordinance will go into place until April 10th. A temporary beach closure will happen from 10 pm to 4 am between beach access 25 near Pineapple Willy’s to beach access 36 west of Ocean Villa. The police chief said nearly one-third of incidents happened in that area over the last two years, and he said having the ordinance can hopefully bring those numbers down.
For a list of Spring Break ordinances, click here.
For ordinance 1615 that will go into effect Friday, March 10th click here.
For more information on a recent press conference, click here.
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