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Panama City Beach Limits Spring Break Gatherings On Sand

College students gather in Panama City Beach, FL during spring break in March 2020.
Valerie Crowder
College students gather in Panama City Beach, FL during spring break in March 2020.

Panama City Beach is limiting the number of people who may gather on the sand during spring break.

Parties and concerts taking place on the sandy shoreline in March must limit attendance to 125 people. Those who violate the policy could lose their special events permit and get shut down.

The beach crowd size limit is the only pandemic-related restriction that the city has in place at the start of the busy tourism month. The city has not adopted maximum indoor capacity limits or mask requirements, though some businesses are enforcing their own health and safety rules.

City Council members voted to approve the crowd size limit at last week's meeting.

Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman recently told news outlets that officers will patrol the beach to enforce the policy. "Every spring break we plan on this the day after spring break for the following year," he said. "We're ready."

Here are other spring break rules in effect every March:

  • Alcohol use is prohibited on the sandy shoreline and in beach parking lots.
  • No alcohol sales may take place between 2 a.m. - 7 a.m.
  • Overnight scooter rentals aren't allowed. Riders may not operate scooters between sunset and sunrise.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.