St. Johns County opens beaches for recreation
St. Johns, Duval split on beach closures, but align mostly on reopening.

jacksonville beaches
The beach will pen in the mornings for exercise only.

St. Johns County on Friday reopened its beaches.

The shoreline will be accessible seven days a week, from 6 AM to noon, for walking, running, surfing, biking, fishing, swimming, and other forms of exercise.

The move comes after community outcry, heard as recently as this week’s meeting of the St. Johns County Commission, to reopen beaches for surfing and other purposes.

County officials defended the move Friday.

“Walk to exercise not to socialize,” said Dawn C. Allicock, M.D., MPH, Director and Health Officer of Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County.

“As long as individuals adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing, getting exercise and fresh air can be beneficial for our citizens’ physical and mental health,” Allicock urged.

“From day one, every decision we have made has been methodical and deliberate without knee jerk actions or reactions, and this decision is no different. Our residents have shown extreme grace, measure, and personal responsibility throughout this pandemic, and our trend is beginning to flat line and has been doing so for nearly two weeks.” said Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator.

“We also know this is not over and we are urging all who use the beach to follow the restrictions in place. Our hope is that this becomes a great mental health release for so many and becomes the first step of many in the coming weeks and months in our return to normal life,” Conrad added.

The move comes a day after Duval County reopened its beaches, effective Friday evening.

Jacksonville beaches will be accessible between 6-11 A.M. and 5-8 P.M.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has already taken to Twitter to plead with locals to follow social-distancing guidelines on the beach.

“Don’t ruin this for everyone,” Curry warned.

“We remain under a State and local safer at home order. Limited access to beaches/ parks is for recreational activities only. No chairs, coolers, sitting/groups congregating. Public safety workers will break up groups. Use these spaces responsibly,” Curry warned.

On Thursday, Curry announced his decision to reopen beaches, with conditions applying similar to the St. Johns guidelines.

Users must be “participating in recreational activities consistent with social distancing guidelines such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at


  • Frankie M.

    April 17, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Spring break isn’t just for the kids ya know. Boomers gotta spring break too. I think James Franco said that.

    I really miss gambling on sports. AG give us an over/under on how many days before Lenny says, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

  • Frankie M.

    April 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    In retrospect I understand why the SJC is only open from 4 am to noon. That’s when the early bird takeout specials start for the boomers.

    p.s. MJD>Freddy T. 32 teams passed on MJD and he never let them forget it. Just ask Shawn Merriman. He could block, run, and catch. Freddy T played on better Jag teams but was not what you call a natural catcher of the foosball. Looks like a kid trying to shag punts. Every time Freddy T’s name comes up for the HOF or greatest Jag(whatever that means) Freddy should send a thank you card to Maurice for helping extend his career in Jax.

  • Jim W

    April 18, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Someone show this to the power hungry Pinellas County Commissioners. They refuse to open our beaches even after many people calling into their meeting wanting it. Elections are coming.

Comments are closed.


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