Panama City Beach prepares to house storm victims, workers and tourists for Spring Break

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Spring break is right around the corner. Many will descend on Panama City Beach, but will they have a place to stay? Panama City Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert said the city will be packed with displaced storm victims, hurricane recovery workers and tourists this spring and some local lodging owners have different plans to handle the situation.

Many will tell you spring break brings in a lot of money to Panama City Beach, especially those who put heads in beds.

"We're talking about a month and a half worth of extra income. In it's sell it's just as much as the summer season," said Vipul Patel with the executive inn.

But this year is different.

"We have a lot of people here currently because of all the construction work that's going on on the other side of the bridge so it will be an interesting mix this year," said Gisbert.

With the high number of people in town, local motel operators are figuring out the direction they want to take. Some are choosing to skip the tourist season.

"We're not taking any advance reservations. We found that is in the best interest of the community," said Jean Miller with Summer Breeze.

Miller said they want to save their motel for those working on hurricane recovery efforts but staff at executive inn says they'll do things a little differently. They're trying to house workers, storm victims and tourists.

"We know the construction workers are here for a while, we need him to be here because we have to be here with our construction workers and be here with our tourism," said Patel.

Gisbert said they'll beef up law enforcement during the spring. He said they'll have help from Lynn Haven, the Bay County Sheriff's Office and many other local agencies to keep people safe during this time.