BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Emergency crews are ready. The police are set. The signs are up, and the cones are out. However, the crowds aren’t here yet.
In fact, officials don’t have a clear estimate about how many spring breakers will be here. The metrics used before, aren’t working now.
“Several years ago, there was a rise in hotel rentals,” said Capt. Brian Dykes with the Biloxi Police Department. “It went from about 50 percent to about 70 percent. So, we could gauge that more people were coming in or had made reservations for that particular weekend.”
But it’s different this year.
“Since the mask mandate has been lifted, all of the hotels within the city of Biloxi have been operating at 90-plus percent,” he said. “So, there’s no way for us to gauge using that.”
At least at the beginning, the bad weather has likely kept a lot of people off the beach. However, Kevin Johnson and Truston Dunn of Baton Rouge came anyway.
“We just came. We’re taking a chance. We’re still taking a chance,” Johnson said. “All this weather, we are taking a chance.”
But the rain isn’t a problem for them.
“You go to Miami, they’re still out there partying,” Johnson said with a laugh. “You go to New Orleans, they’re partying all in the rain, with umbrellas.”
And this year, Spring Break has been split, creating some confusion. One promoter decided to keep plans for April, while another postponed until August because of the pandemic.
That’s not a good idea for Dunn.
“School starts back for everybody. Not just college, everybody,” said Dunn. “People who’ve got kids, they can’t come out here. They can’t enjoy themselves during August. We’ve got to buckle down, it’s time to go back to work. Right now, we’re on break. So, we’re going to take a little break.”
But, whenever the break, Biloxi is the spot.
“Thing is about Biloxi, it’s more like family,” Johnson added. “There’s a lot of people I can catch up with that I haven’t seen in a long time. They stay in different states. We all come out here and we just have fun.”