94ºF

Brevard County beaches to remain open

Proposal to be considered during Tuesday afternoon meeting

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County officials were considering closing local beaches during midday hours as a way to guard against the spread of the coronavirus but ultimately decided not to, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

The Brevard County Policy Group considered the proposal during its meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, after hearing recommendations from the Space Coast League of Cities, which represents Brevard’s 16 cities and towns.

[RELATED: Cocoa Beach alcohol ban, parking closures reduce beach crowds | Attendance at Brevard County beaches ‘substantially down’ but drivers taking more risk with parking]

During a press conference around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, commissioners announced they are not closing the beaches at this time.

Commissioners will look at the beach situation on Wednesday.

Cocoa Beach saw a 75 percent reduction year over year in what the area saw in 2019.

County Commission Chairman Bryan Lober, who also chairs the Policy Group, said he would call an emergency meeting of the County Commission, if necessary, to act on any proposal for beach closings.

The 10-person Policy Group includes local government, public safety, health and education officials, who meet regularly to plan Brevard County's attack on the coronavirus.

The Policy Group on Monday began discussing the issue of potentially closing the county’s beaches from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

But they want to have a countywide approach, rather than having only beaches in certain cities close, for example. If only certain beach areas close, that could create even more crowded beaches in other areas of the county where they remain open.

During a news conference on Monday, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said he has no desire to close the beaches as of now.

"We've had a considerable amount of traffic over on the beaches," Ivey said, adding that residents need an outlet while other establishments are closed.

Patrols are going to Brevard County beaches to educate the public on the social distancing recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We do not want to have to close beaches," Ivey said. "Certainly, our citizens love our beaches and we want to make sure they have access."

Ivey is one of the 10 members of the Policy Group.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.