wjxt logo

Nassau County residents can once again drive on area beaches starting Friday

Order also applies to active military personnel, horseback riding will also be permitted during specific hours

File photo: Nassau County beaches
File photo: Nassau County beaches

During a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, a measure was approved to allow Nassau County residents and active military personnel to once again drive on beaches within county limits.

The commission said it made the decision “based on the limited space available for vehicular parking and driving, and due to the continued need for spacing and reduction of gatherings.”

The change takes effect at 8 a.m. Friday. Horseback riding will once again be permitted during specific hours.

Vehicles can access designated areas at Peters Point and Lewis Street (American Beach) between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day The Scott Road access point will remain closed for the term of the declared emergency, but it will still be open for pedestrians.

Horseback riding is allowed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The beaches in Nassau County remain open to pedestrians from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, and the social distancing guidelines still apply.

Anticipating that Florida’s stay-home order will be lifted on Thursday, Nassau County officials said they’re preparing a plan to reopen the county’s beaches on Friday.

The plan, which would let people return to county beaches if they follow federal social distancing rules, will be presented to and then voted on by county commissioners at a special meeting on Wednesday evening.

If the plan passes, it would override another measure the county commission approved last week, which would open the county’s beaches to those seeking exercise from 6 a.m. to noon beginning May 6.

Under the proposal, beachgoers would not be allowed to camp, ride horses or drive on the beach. It also calls for people to limit groups to no more than 10 individuals.

Adam Fortenberry said he misses spending time with his son on the beach.

“I can’t take my jeep out for a little ride on the beach," he said. “Can’t find my sharks teeth. I can’t go out on the paddle board.”

Nearby Duval and St. Johns counties reopened their beaches April 17 and 18, respectively, on a limited basis.

Nassau County Manager Mike Mullin is recommending that only drivers with vehicles registered in Nassau County be allowed to use parking spaces at beach access points. Violators would be fined.

The special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

There will be limited seating available to those who wish to watch the meeting in-person. But the county is asking residents to follow along from home using the live feed on NassauClerk.com.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.