One of America’s most famous beaches has closed because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Volusia County leaders announced Thursday that all beaches, most notably Daytona Beach, will close to all activity, including pedestrians walking.
County Manager George Recktenwald said this marked the first extended closure of the beach in the 22 years he’s been involved in county government there.
Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood said the move to close beaches comes after a weekend of irresponsible behavior in the county even amid a global crisis.
“There was some reckless behavior, pop-up block parties with a thousand people in the street,” he said.
Of course, the closing of beaches also comes a day after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order statewide that goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. That closes down businesses deemed non-essential and puts enforcement of social distancing in place statewide.
Volusia County was among a handful of communities in Florida that had not already closed down its beaches. And beaches in neighboring Brevard County remain open.
Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey told News 6 he’s unsure if the Governor’s order will force beaches and boat ramps there to close. All city beaches in Brevard have been closed.
In Volusia, the county charter makes clear the county holds jurisdiction over all beaches there. “In Volusia, there’s no such thing as a city beach,” Recktenwald said.
But the City of Daytona Beach has issued a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government announced.
As Spring Break crowds congregated in Florida in March, national outrage grew over the fact beaches remained open amid a growing outbreak.
A handful of beaches in Northwest Florida, where there have been far fewer coronavirus tests confirming positive results, remain open. Technically, beaches remain open in Monroe County as well, though travel on U.S. 1 into the Florida Keys is restricted to residents.