PANAMA CITY BEACH — To prevent An uncontrollable late-night gatheringLocal authorities closed a quarter mile portion of Beach One night.
According to Councilman Philchester, the sandy beach from Boardwalk Beach Resort to Long Beach Resort is from 10 pm to morning until July 31 to prevent him and other leaders from calling it a “pop-up event.” It will be closed until 5 o’clock. All other parts of the beach remain open for 24 hours.
Pop-up events are large, unlicensed, and often voluntary gatherings, and local law enforcement officers have had difficulty containing them in the past.
“We’re just trying to disperse the crowd, especially on dangerous nights,” Chester said of the decision. “It’s very difficult for the police when there are such crowds on the beach. I think this really helps our office and keeps (the city) safe.”
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Beach police deputy chief Chad Lindsey said pop-up events in the area attracted up to 400 people, many of whom were young tourists renting rooms in nearby condominiums.
This, coupled with some large parking lots in the area, creates a “funnel” for people leading to beaches that are currently temporarily closed.
“A crowd of these young people tends to gather at night … and often cause turmoil,” Lindsey wrote in an email. “These crowds are sometimes very noisy, and it’s anxious and worrisome to our locals and other visitors here with their little children.
“This is also the scene of multiple shootings, and earlier this year one of the police officers was (a) attacked by a beer bottle thrown by someone in the crowd.”
Panama City Beach announced the closure in a Facebook post on Friday. As of Monday afternoon, there were over 2,000 reactions, 2,000 comments, and about 8,000 shares.
Many of the comments upheld the decisions made by the authorities over the same period, at least for the past few years.
Lindsey said the closure would allow the agency to make better use of its resources throughout the city. The city continues to see a surge in tourists following 2021, the busiest year in PCB history.
“By closing this part of the beach overnight, we can better extend our resources to all parts of the city,” writes Lindsey. “There are so many police officers on patrol that a temporary nighttime beach closure can disperse this crowd.
“It is very important to the safety of all locals, visitors and public security personnel. There can be more than 100,000 people in the city every day. Safety is our top priority.”
This article was originally published in The News-Herald: PCBs temporarily close parts of the beach to prevent unruly gatherings