Starting today, open containers aren’t allowed in so-called “public areas” on Pensacola Beach, though they’re still allowed on the beach itself.
Escambia County commissioners in December passed an ordinance restricting open containers in the beach’s commercial district. The law, which goes into effect Tuesday, makes it unlawful for residents and visitors to consume or possess any alcoholic beverages in an open container in the public areas within the commercial district, including sidewalks, boardwalks, roads, and parking lots. Open containers continue to be allowed on the sandy portions of the beach, with the exception of the “family area” of Casino Beach just west of the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier.
The commercial district of Pensacola Beach is generally considered the area from the Bob Sikes Bridge south to the Casino Beach Bandstand, and from the first residence on the west to Avendia 10 on the east. Signs have been placed in the commercial district and beach goers are encouraged to ask lifeguards and law enforcement questions about the new policy. A special permitting process is available through the Santa Rosa Island Authority for events seeking an exemption to the open container restrictions.
Violations of the new rules could be punishable by a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.