FL - Santa Rosa County Commission votes to re-open Navarre Beach

Santa Rosa County will re-open Navarre Beach in a series of phases beginning May 1, becoming the latest Panhandle county to initiate a gradual re-opening of local beaches as health officials say the curve of COVID-19 cases is beginning to flatten.

Following nearly two hours of debate and public forum, the commissioners voted unanimously at their Thursday morning meeting to approve a three-phased approach to re-opening the beach, which has been closed since March 20. The first phase will begin May 1 and will have the following restrictions:

— The beach will be open from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. each day.

— Beach access will be available via the main pier parking lot only and the pavilions at the east end of the beach at the Navarre Beach Marine Park, closest to Gulf Islands National Seashore. Parking lot hours will be limited to coincide with beach opening.

— In accordance with federal guidelines and state executive orders, visitors can gather in no more than groups of 10 and maintain appropriate social distancing.

— The Navarre Beach Fishing Pier will be open to fishermen with existing permits only, not walkers, for normal pier hours.

The second phase will include opening the beach for up to eight hours a day, and the third phase will see the beach re-open as normal.

Each phase will be in place for a minimum of two weeks before being re-evaluated to determine if the county is ready to move into the next phase, in accordance with public health officials’ recommendations.

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