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Seabreeze Jazz Festival kicks off with new COVID safety guidlines

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 9:10 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This week, thousands of music lovers made their way to Panama City Beach for what some say they’ve been waiting more than a year to do.

“We’ve been waiting on an opportunity to get out and you know socialize again,” concertgoer Adrian Bland said.

On Thursday, the annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival kicked off at Aaron Bessant Park after being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“A lot of people have kind of been sweating bullets like how are we going to get back out there? So I feel like we’re really setting a good example for everybody coming behind us. Showing that the music industry can come back, the event industry can come back, and we can do so in a safe environment,” Seabreeze Jazz Festival Merchandise Manager Amberley Brown said.

Concert officials said it’s the first jazz festival in the United States since COVID-19 began and the first big concert in Panama City Beach. But it’s not without a set of safety guidelines.

Walking around, social distancing signs are everywhere you turn. Masks are mandatory coming and going from the festival, but you can take them off when your inside.

Seabreeze also partnered with a cleaning company that will disinfect the park daily. Not only is the entire park being sprayed down, but there’s also hand sanitizing stations all over the festival.

To help keep things simple, officials made the festival cash-free and added in a clear bag policy for no-touch bag checks.

Some guests said these new policies make them feel more confident about coming out to these events during this time.

“Blessed that COVID didn’t get me. Hopefully, everybody will social distance and we’ll be okay and safe,” guest Dwight Flack said.

To help ease crowds, festival officials said they reduced capacity by 25%, which brings in around 5,500 people a day. But officials said the park has enough room for everyone to spread out.

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