PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (CBS NEWSPATH) –The thunder has rolled into the beach. The Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally has kicked off in Panama City Beach. People are excited to have the rally back after it was postponed due to COVID-19.
Thunder Beach owner Joe Biggs says he is working with the city to keep people as safe and healthy as possible and having the rally back helps boost the local economy, “we want to do the right thing and we want to be a partner with the city and with the community and that’s always been our attitude with doing business here.” Biggs says the city is enforcing a mask mandate starting, but he aims to go beyond that with more safety protocols, “it makes a statement to everybody coming into the venues that, keep in mind, we’re not through this thing yet and please be responsible and keep yourselves separated.”
Free masks and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout all venues, as well as keeping all vendors 15 feet apart. Panama City Beach Manager Tony O’rouke says certain covid-19 protocols were finalized earlier this month when permission for thunder beach was granted, “on one hand we love that this event is occurring. On the other hand, this is the first major event we’ve in this community since COVID broke in March.”
O’rourke says the city has seen a decline in covid-19 cases and flattening the curve for the past 45 days, “we want to keep it that way. So it’s very, very important that people have a great time, that we boost the economy, but we leave this community healthy when this event departs.”
Both Biggs and O’rouke say after 20 years and 40 rallies, this year is something they’ve never been through before, but are happy bike week is back.
Again, masks are mandatory at all venues and the city will continue to monitor the event closely to ensure everyone’s safety.
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