No plan to close St. Johns County beaches during COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Officials in St. Johns County spoke Tuesday at the Emergency Operations Center about the changes and additional measures they’ve taken at area beaches during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite seeing an “overwhelming number” of people at St. Johns County beaches, County Administrator Hunter Conrad said the county will continue to keep them open.

“We certainly respect and support the decision of other counties that have made that decision. But here in St Johns County, we want to do what we believe is best for our community, what’s best for the residents while allowing people to continue to access public spaces,” Conrad said.

The county administrator spoke about the decision to restrict vehicles from accessing St. Johns County beaches and closing public parking lots. He noted the decisions of beaches to the north and south to close.

RELATED: Mayor Curry closes all Duval County beaches amid COVID-19 pandemic

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, there was one confirmed death of COVID-19 in St. Johns County. There were a total of 22 cases, 20 of whom are residents. The ages ranged from 21 to 76.

Conrad has observed that people are taking personal responsibility, and adhering to social distancing. News4Jax noticed some groups at the beach were not following the rule of staying six feet apart.

“I am personally thankful that the beach is still open because I love to get out as much as possible,” said Faith Freund, who was visiting the beaches.

During the news conference, Conrad also spoke about places to get tested in St. Johns County.

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