Panama City has agreed to ban alcohol consumption on the beach during the 2016 spring break season.
The Panama City Beach city council voted to approve the proposal, which would ban drinking on the beach during the month of March, during a meeting in the auditorium at Arnold High School on Tuesday, May 12, according to the Panama City News Herald.
The council also voted to approve three ordinances, which still require a final approval, that will require bars to close at 2 a.m., ban "open containers of alcoholic beverages in commercial parking lots unless under the surveillance and control of the business," and will outlaw parking on right of way after dark.
The council members voted 3-2 to consider the entire month of March as Spring Break. However, council member Keith Curry suggested that Spring Break be considered February 12 through April 9 because that is when the majority of schools and colleges plan their annual breaks.
The alcohol ban and other ordinances have been suggested to crackdown on the partying and crime that takes place during Spring Break and are in addition to 17 measures that were approved last year, according to Fox News.
Just this year, seven people were shot and wounded at a house party, and a sexual assault allegedly took place in broad daylight.
— WKRN (@WKRN) May 14, 2015
While the ban is being created to help lower the crime rates, the hospitality industry is concerned about the impact the ban will have on their jobs.
Arthur Cullen spoke on behalf of the industry, revealing that there is a $200 million economic benefit that could be lost by banning alcohol.
"We believe that we can approach Spring Break with a layered approach," Cullen said.
He suggested people be allowed to consume alcohol on the beach, but only what they can carry in their hands.
"We believe that would help to curb the binge drinking that now occurs," he said. "The binge drinking encourages the undesirable behavior that we see on national media."
This would outlaw coolers, funnels, beer pong tables, and kegs on the beach.
RIP Panama City Beach; Drinking was officially banned on all beaches for spring break 2016. Devastating for anyone who never experienced it.
— Kaylen (@kaylenhering) May 13, 2015
Hector Solis, one of the leaders of the Citizens for a New Panama City Beach, said that the city's police force, which only consists of 57 officers, can't control Spring Break and the rowdiness that occurs.
"You cannot control 80,000 to 100,000 drinking, rowdy kids," he said. "We don't have any way to enforce anything. Whether it's personal consumption or coolers on the beach."
Wes Pittman, also a representative of the homeowner's group, said it is time for a change.
"The truth is, we're in a crisis," he said. "You have got to act like it's a crisis. You have to recognize it's a crisis. For once for God's sake recognize it's a crisis. This has to be your call to some real action. Not throwing the crumbs to the crowd as you did last year."
What do you think about the Spring Break alcohol ban on Panama City Beach? Leave your comments below.
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