As March comes to a close, residents and tourists of Panama City Beach can look forward to a fun and safe beach experience. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to remind swimmers of the rules and regulations, such as not consuming alcohol on beaches, in commercial parking lots or inside vehicles. All alcoholic beverage sales end at 2 in the morning and there are no open house parties. The city's spring break laws will take effect next month, and council members discussed some changes at Thursday's meeting, in addition to enacting an additional ordinance for safety reasons.
Data shows that areas with sandy beaches account for nearly 50 percent of beachside service calls. City leaders are studying the possibility of changing two other ordinances, putting the municipal administrator in charge of authorizing construction when there is a noise ordinance and revising chapter seven which deals with the beach, boats and water safety. All laws align to achieve a common goal that seeks to keep the beach fun, clean and, most importantly, safe. The city still prohibits alcohol on sandy beaches during the month of March.
In addition, alcohol in parking lots and loud music are prohibited all year round. The mayor of Panama City says that last year there was an influx of visitors to nighttime businesses who weren't prepared to receive large crowds when things got out of hand. The city of Gulf Shores is once again spreading the word from the start that drinking will not be allowed on the beach. However, members of the city council are studying the possibility of adding one more ordinance, closing part of the sandy beaches starting at 10 p.m.
If approved, these ordinances will take effect immediately. That's the message that Talamantez wants to be etched in everyone's minds before spring break this year. Coburn noted that, even though the spring break ordinances on the list have expired, local law and code enforcement officials, along with the safety team on the city's beaches, will continue to work together to ensure that Panama City Beach has a fun and safe summer. You may remember that last year 161 people were arrested on a weekend in Panama City Beach, and 11 of the people arrested came from the WTVM observation area.
As Panama City is a popular place for spring break, authorities are prepared for the crowds of students who come to the beaches with new ordinances designed to keep the peace. It's still illegal in Panama City Beach to enter the Gulf of Mexico during times of a double red flag.