ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – More than a week after Mayor Lenny Curry ordered beaches in Duval County to close, St. Johns County has now done the same, closing its beaches to pedestrians Sunday morning.
On Saturday, beaches along St. Johns County were crowed.
“With that picture that I saw yesterday, I think it was a good idea because people aren’t taking any precautions serious,” Randy Hanke, a St. Johns County resident said.
Hanke was talking about this photo, taken on Saturday:
This picture is from 3pm today.— Travis Akers (@travisakers) March 28, 2020
You can see exactly where Duval County ends and St. John’s County begins.
All beaches in Duval are closed, while St. John’s only blocked parking at the beach.
Gov. DeSantis needs to order a state-wide closure of all Florida beaches. pic.twitter.com/JfKzCGCPLq
Travis Akers tweeted out the photo, showing hundreds crowding and gathering where Duval ends and St. Johns County begins.
“Nobody wanted to close the beaches this is the last thing we wanted to do,” said Commander Scott Beaver with the St. John’s County Sheriffs Office. “People need an outlet. They’ve been cooped up inside their houses for weeks now, but in the sake of public safety, we thought it was time.”
Beaver told News4Jax it turned into a public safety issue after beachgoers flooded the street along A1A and in front of homes then packed into the beach.
Bob Davenport, known as “Bucket Bob,” spends three hours a day picking up debris from this area for the last five years. He said he’s seen cars flooding the Mickler’s Landing area daily.
“Unfortunately, it’ll be a hard hit to everybody who likes to come out here. I come out here to clean and I get my exercise,” Davenport said.
“We have taken as many measures as possible up to this point to preserve our residents’ ability to access their beach. Unfortunately, those visiting the beach continue to ignore CDC guidelines regarding crowd size and personal distancing,” said Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator.
Deputies patrolling Mickler’s Landing area were seen turning away vehicles on Sunday.