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As PCB Spring Break laws end Wednesday night, a new rule is effective Thursday

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:28 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach spring break laws ended at midnight Wednesday. But Thursday, April first a new rule took effect.

March was filled with lots of sunshine and lots of smiles for both locals and tourists during Spring Break. Panama City Beach vice mayor Geoff McConnell said he believes the Spring Break laws were incredibly effective.

“Everything has pretty much gone how we needed it to this year,” said McConnell.

Some of those laws include no alcohol on the sandy beach, alcohol sales stop from 2 - 7 A.M. and no overnight scooter rentals. According to Beach Police, as of Wednesday morning, they made 348 adult arrests and 16 juvenile arrests this month, as well as 557 citations issued and had 8,155 calls for service.

“We have not had nearly as many issues as we have in the past, so it’s been working out really well,” said McConnell.

McConnell said he believes the laws put in place right now are working and aren’t expected to change next year.

With the Spring Break laws ending Wednesday night, the city council approved an order that temporarily closes part of the beach starting Thursday. City leaders cite safety as the reason. The overnight closure is in effect April 1st - 12th, between the hours of 10 P.M. and 5 A.M. The area to be closed is from the Ocean Ritz Condos, east to just past the Boardwalk Beach Hotel and Convention Center. McConnell said this area of the beach has the highest population per square foot.

“So most of our problems happen there. Most of our drownings happen there. A lot of our issues are coalescing in that area,” said McConnell.

McConnell said the closure helps stop large gatherings after hours. But, tourists told us they have mixed feelings about this.

“I think it’s a good idea because everyone should be in bed by then. You know it’s 10:00 P.M., you just have to go to be,” said one girl.

“I don’t really know why or how it’d make it safer closing part of the beach. I don’t understand it,” said another girl.

“I feel like anything that will happen during the day will happen at night,” said another girl.

“I just feel like they can do the same exact thing on this side of the beach that’s open,” said another girl.

“We did it last year and it was very successful in curbing some of the issues that we have,” said McConnell.

McConnell said if necessary, the council will extend the end date of the beach closure at night, but he does not foresee that happening. Beach Police officials said they won’t comment on how this month went until after this weekend and the mayor declined to comment as well.

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