Panama City Beach prepares for spring break season

Mayor Thomas wants visitors to enjoy their time while also being safe. (WJHG/WECP)
Mayor Thomas wants visitors to enjoy their time while also being safe. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 5:47 PM CST
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In less than a month, spring break vacationers will be back in Panama City Beach.

The no-alcohol rule on the beach during March is also returning.

"If that's what it takes to make everybody comfortable and make some behave, I think it's a necessary restriction," said Mayor Mike Thomas.

Mayor Thomas wants visitors to enjoy their time while also being safe.

"We're being very firm with our rules. We have laws that we're going to enforce," Mayor Thomas said.

This year will the be the first spring break season police are allowed to enforce the beach flags system within city limits - handing out fines, or even arresting people, who don't listen to double red flag warnings.

"We will arrest you if you're told to get out of the water and don't. We're not going to send our people in and endanger them to take care of people who won't obey the law," Mayor Thomas said.

Officials are taking more preventative steps in protecting tourists from the gulf's current.

"If our flags turn to double flags, we have always flown the banner plane along the beaches to make sure they know that. Now, we're also geofencing so that we're serving all those visitors in the area, messaging to let them know it's double red flags and to stay out of the water," said Marketing Vice President of Visit Panama City Beach Jayna Leach.

Mayor Thomas says police will also be cracking down on golf cart violations.

Locals are preparing for spring break in their own ways.

"The tourists come and the sad truth is that brings a lot of trash onto our beaches," said Keep PCB Beautiful's Kim Christian.

Keep PCB Beautiful plans to clean up the beach before tourists arrive.

"When places have trash or when they're littered already, I think people's mindset is 'it already looks bad, we'll throw some more trash out there,'" Christian said.

Officials and locals have a common goal to keep things safe and keep things clean.

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