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Day one of Thunder Beach kicks off Wednesday in Panama City Beach amid COVID-19

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 9:01 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - You can hear it coming down the roads of Panama City Beach. It’s not a storm, but there is thunder.

At Frank Brown Park people say They’re excited to have the Thunder Beach fall motorcycle rally back after it was postponed briefly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thunder Beach owner Joe Biggs says he is working with the city to keep people as safe and healthy as possible.

“We want to do the right thing and we want to be a partner with the city and with the community and that’s always been our attitude with doing business here,” said Biggs.

Biggs says the city is enforcing a mask mandate starting Wednesday, but he aims to go beyond that with more safety protocols.

“It makes a statement to everybody coming into the venues that, keep in mind, we’re not through this thing yet and please be responsible and keep yourselves separated,” said Biggs.

Free masks and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout all venues, as well as keeping all vendors 15 feet apart. Panama City Beach City Manager Tony O’Rouke says certain COVID-19 protocols were finalized earlier this month when permission for Thunder Beach was granted.

“On one hand we love that this event is occurring. On the other hand, this is the first major event we’ve had in this community since COVID broke in March,” said O’Rourke.

O’Rourke said the city has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases and flattening the curve for the past 45 days.

“We want to keep it that way so it’s very, very important that people have a great time, that we boost the economy, but we leave this community healthy when this event departs,” said O’Rourke.

Both Biggs and O’Rouke said after 20 years and 40 rallies, this year is something they’ve never been through before, but are happy bike week is back.

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