JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While Duval County beaches have closed to the COVID-19 pandemic, some beaches in surrounding counties, including Nassau and St. Johns, were still open Saturday afternoon.
Although vehicles are not currently permitted on St. Johns County beaches, all 42 miles of its beaches are were open to pedestrians Saturday afternoon.
The City of Fernandina Beach announced it would be closing its beaches effective at 5 p.m. Saturday until further notice. Hours later, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office announced its beaches would be closing at 6 a.m. Sunday.
Earlier in the day, many people flocked to beaches in Nassau County.
“We are preparing for additional people to be coming to the beach,” said Greg Foster, the director of Nassau County Emergency Management.
Foster said people at the beach appear to be complying with the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing. Signs at Peters Point Beachfront Park were up reminding people to stay in groups smaller than 10 people and to remain at least three to six feet apart.
“I’m just amazed at the people here,” said Jeanne Prudot Mercer, a Nassau County resident. “We came down here on Monday and it looked like the Fourth of July and today it is twice as many as people.”
“We are trying to do the best we can to protect the citizens of Nassau County and the visitors to Nassau, but we need their help by them remembering those guidelines,” Foster said.
Additionally, Flagler County beaches remained open. A news release from the county said it plans to keep the beaches open as long as visitors continue to self-regulate.
“There is nothing wrong with being outdoors as long as you are practicing social distancing,” Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said in a statement.
On Friday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that beaches in Duval County are closed until further notice. The mayor said there there will be signage notifying people of the closures at beach walkovers and access points. Some access points will be blocked off with barricades.
Also on Friday, Florida state park beaches closed due to overcrowding.
In addition to beach park closures, the following state parks are closed for today, March 21, due to visitor capacity limits & to balance necessary resources. We will continue to provide closure updates on social media & https://t.co/WJuNrqizIU (Click image to see full list) pic.twitter.com/j6J3IMQPPR— Florida State Parks (@FLStateParks) March 21, 2020