Locals and Spring Breakers Express Concern Over Spring Break Ordinances
Local residents and business owners are the ones who will be affected the most by some new spring break ordinances. And while they know changes need to be made during spring break, many we talked with Tuesday say they shouldn't be punished for what happens one month out of the year.
Clay McEvoy, a spring breaker, claims, "This is like the spring break capital of the world, and you just ruined it for us."
There is certainly no pleasing everyone when it comes to spring break.
The new ordinances put into effect by the Panama City Beach City Council members Tuesday will certainly have an impact on our area on more than one level.
Brandon Caldwell, the marketing manager for Hammerhead Fred's claims, "Spring break is a big part of my income for the entire year, so you start hurting peoples pockets, it may help one side of the fence but it doesn't help the other side of the fence."
Some beach residents believe the ordinances are not tackling the real issues of spring break.
"With the bar side and the nightclub side, that the element that's coming down and causing all the issues," Senior Managing Partner for Hammerhead Fred's Robert Hammer said. "It isn't coming into the night clubs, they are staying in the streets and driving, you know, vehicles up and down the road that kind of thing. I don't know why they feel that the clubs are causing that issue, because we're not."
Local residents and spring breakers claim that they aren't the ones causing the trouble, so why do they have to pay for it?
Janet Williams agrees. "They've allowed it to go on this long, and I don't think everybody should suffer for the few idiots that they've had here, that have brought the gun, and brought the drugs, and are doing stupid stuff," she said. "Why should we be punished for something somebody else does?"
Spring breakers who are here this week claim the new ordinances aren't fair, and they wouldn't have booked their trip if they'd known about them.
"I've been out there the past two days, and I've had fun, and they've been cracking down a lot," McEvoy said. "And it's making me mad that they are doing that now, especially half way through my spring break without warning or anything. Like if it stays like that, I won't want to come back. "
Some residents say they will continue to go to the beach, drink in hand, and stand up for what they believe.
"If i'm going to get stopped, for going on the beach and drinking and I'm of age, I'm not leaving the beach for that ordinance, I'm going to be honest with you and I don't think anybody that's 21 and over should." Williams said.
City council members insist these ordinances were specifically put into place for the protection and safety of the community.
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