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Volusia County finally closes down Daytona Beach

Move comes a day after Ron DeSantis issued statewide stay-at-home order

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.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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