Officials have announced the temporary closure of beaches at Panama City Beach, which has long been a draw for metro Atlantans. Rachel Dunlap (from left), her son Colden, 4, and friend Heather Walker visited last year. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Panama City Beach sand closed as coronavirus measures tighten

The beaches of Florida’s Panama City Beach are now closed, officials there decided Friday, another in a long string of efforts around the nation to slow the transmission of the coronavirus.

PCB’s beaches have been a prime destination for generations of vacationers from metro Atlanta. So have Georgia beaches, a portion of which are shutting as well.

The Panama City Beach City Council and the Bay County Board of County Commissioners agreed to close some 20 miles of the Gulf of Mexico beaches for a week, with weekly decisions about whether to extend it, according to a press release from the local visitors bureau and media reports.

Nightclubs and bars in Panama City Beach have been forced to close for 30 days. And Florida’s governor on Friday ordered all restaurants in the state to halt on-premises food consumption.

“Our highest priority remains the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors,” Dan Rowe, the chief executive officer of Visit Panama City Beach, said in a press release. “Our community is truly resilient, and we look forward to the day that we are able to reopen our beautiful beaches again for all to enjoy.”

The organization said it expects to post daily online videos and webcam images of the white-sand beaches.

Shutdowns also have been announced for beaches at Georgia’s St. Simons and Tybee islands.

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