PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WTVM) - Many Americans consider Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start to summer, which can mean grilling out or heading to the beach. Panama City Beach in Florida is very crowded for the holiday weekend as this is the first weekend since short-term rentals recently reopened.
“It’s not much of a difference,” said Cameron Logston, a vacationer from Decatur, AL. He says they booked a last minute trip to Panama City Beach for the long holiday weekend on Wednesday and were lucky to find an open rental.
“I feel like people are being more cautious as far as keeping their distance away from other people, but I don’t think they’re worried about it as much as not going to have a good time at the beach," Logston explained.
Moe’s Original BBQ Owner William Casanova says they’re expecting a busy Memorial Day weekend.
“I think it’s going to be just as good if not better than the past because people have been cooped up for so long. They’re really excited and ready to get out and come down to the beach and to get out of their house. You can tell from the traffic we’ve already had this weekend. We’re gearing up for a good one," Casanova said.
This Memorial Day weekend is especially important for Casanova as a small business owner.
“It’s very important for this big weekend for us because we obviously didn’t have the spring break that we wanted to with everything going down so, it really is something to get the wheels moving again and get money in the bank and happy customers in our seats," he said.
Logston says he wasn’t expecting Panama City Beach to be as crowded as it is this weekend.
“You’re a little more cautious. You don’t want to get up in anybody’s face. For me it’s more worrying about other people being bothered by it than am I safe. So, I really don’t want to get in someone else’s face and offend them," Logston said.
Restaurants are open for dine-in seating, but are operating at a limited capacity for inside seating.