Businesses see spike, as some college spring breakers ditch Pana - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Businesses see spike, as some college spring breakers ditch Panama City Beach for Palm Beach County

PALM BEACH, Fla. - For Kevin Gutman and his friends, Palm Beach County is the place to be.

"The weather, the temperature of the water...it's perfect," he says.


His crew traveled south for their spring break, a departure from their usual destination - Panama City Beach.

"Panama City [Beach] banned alcohol on the beaches, so we decided to come here instead," Gutmam says.

That ban, in place throughout the month of March, came about after a couple of high profile incidents last spring break - including an alleged sexual assault on the beach.

Other new laws out on the Panama City Beach have restricted the hours for bars and clubs.

It's resulted in a empty beaches and empty businesses - some claiming to see an 80% decrease in sales.

Panama City Beach's loss is Palm Beach County's gain, says Leon Bell with Bar Louie on Clematis Street.

"Bring the he money here," he says. "If Panama City doesn't want you, we want you."

He says they seeing a spike in college kids this spring break.

"End of happy hour, late night, we're getting an influx of more kids than we usually see during this time of the year," Bell says.

He's not the only one - several bars along Clematis we spoke to off camera say the increase isn't dramatic - but it is noticeable.

It's leaving some to wonder - could Palm Beach County become a new spring break hot spot?

"I hope so," Bell says. "Especially when they come to my place!"

Gutman says he's already looking forward to next spring break.

"I'll be here next year for sure," Gutman says.

We did reach out to Discover the Palm Beaches.

A spokesperson says that they don't have the data just yet to back up those claims.

Overall, they say it's been a busier than normal spring break for Palm Beach County.

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