Enforcing Spring Break Regulations

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Panama City Beach is preparing for the arrival of spring breakers in just a few months. This year, the city is also making some changes they say will improve safety and reduce confusion.

In the past, spring break was designated as a community event, making it exempt from certain city ordinances, but now Panama City Beach and Bay County are changing that.

"We really needed to address some issues," said Panama City Beach city manager Mario Gisbert. "One of the ways to address those issues was to, instead of relaxing the rules during spring break, is to maintain the same rules we have throughout the rest of the year."

These rules rules pertain to things like signs, temporary pavilions and parking - which has become a major issue.

"There's no parking down here as most people that live in Bay County probably know," said Rob Hammer of Hammerhead Fred's. "Then what happens when we have one of those large events like that, people park all down the sides of the road."

Businesses expecting large crowds will need to make parking arrangements without obstructing other businesses or creating hazards...but not everyone is convinced the plan will solve the problems.

"I think it's good to make sure somebody's going to park people and how they're going to maintain them," said Hammer. "Now is everybody going to follow that? Probably not. We're probably going to have just as many folks down here trying to park everywhere because nobody likes to walk."

Gisbert says the city began the stricter enforcement during Thunder Beach, which alleviated some of the parking and traffic problems.

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