Locals and visitors react to Club La Vela remaining closed

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Club La Vela in Panama City Beach announced Monday morning on Facebook it would not be open this spring break season as they negotiate with insurance companies.

The club has not announced when it plans to reopen. (WJHG/WECP)

Some locals say the closing may help keep the beaches safer this spring.

Panama City Beach resident Jenna Hall said, "Me being a mom and living here on the beach, we love our tourists, we love the activities. I don't really care for all of the kids out drinking and driving. A lot of people have lost their lives due to that on our beach."

The club was also closed last year due to damage from Hurricane Michael.

Mayor Mike Thomas says management could use this as an opportunity to change the building as the beach moves towards a more family-friendly spring break, while still drawing people in to visit.

Mayor Thomas said, "Spring break is different than it was back then, it's going to stay different than it was back then. You can't look like we do and not have people come down."

Some visitors we spoke to say while they understand why Panama City Beach is moving towards a more family-friendly atmosphere, they say the lack of some of the larger nightclubs could be a problem for some spring breakers.

Georgia visitor Chloe Sheffield, joined by her friend Faith Crowe said, "There's a lot of restaurants with bars and stuff but also during spring break it's two or three hours to get in. Nobody is going to want to go to a restaurant to party so, without the clubs and stuff I just don't see too much business coming in."

The club has not said when it plans to reopen.

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