Spring Break chaos affects local businesses

Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 11:37 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many local businesses have been affected by all the chaos on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach over the weekend. Many made the tough decision to close for safety. That means they’re losing a lot of money during what should be a lucrative time of year.

Many businesses like all three Newbies, Longboards, Salty Goat, and Shane’s Rib Shack made the tough decision to close Sunday night for safety precautions. Some even decided to close Saturday night. But, other businesses like Hammerhead Fred’s and Coconut Creek Mini Golf decided it was still okay to stay open despite all the chaos.

Hammerhead Fred’s General Manager Brad Burke said a lot of concerns were raised when he first heard of the shooting on Front Beach Road. His initial response was to check on all his staff and guests. For the most part, his restaurant down Thomas Drive was unaffected by the chaos.

After speaking with law enforcement, Burke said it was safe to keep his business operating during dinner hours.

“We had a lot of friends and family here eating and we didn’t want to shove them out into the streets, so we kept a close eye on this and talked to our friends in the police force to make sure everything was still contained down the road from us and we kind of road that wave out,” said Burke.

Hammerhead Fred’s usually closes at 2 A.M., but Burke said they’ll close a little earlier than normal for safety precautions.

Thanks to law enforcement’s quick response time to the incident, Coconut Creek Mini Golf Operations Manager Laura Webber said it was also safe to keep her business operating also down the road.

“Well it’s a Sunday night, so we have a turnover in tourists a little bit. I’m sure a few people were a little leery to come out. We did have some visitors that couldn’t get back to their condos, so they stayed and played some extra golf with us,” said Webber.

We’ll keep you updated on our website as we work to learn more about the active situation.

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