Coronavirus: Cocoa Beach alcohol ban, parking closures reduce beach crowds

Restrictions designed preventing coronavirus spread

Cocoa Beach alcohol ban, parking closures reduce beach crowds
Cocoa Beach alcohol ban, parking closures reduce beach crowds

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A beachside economy dependent on spring break tourism is working to discourage people from coming to Cocoa Beach during the busiest time of the year.

Some of those measures include banning alcohol on the beach and closing beach parking amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have to limit the contact between people as much as we can with the resources we have," Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight said.

On Friday, “no alcohol” on the beach signs were installed. Guests caught with alcohol by patrolling beach rangers and police officers could now get a $500 ticket during the temporary ban.

Some people on the beach Friday said they thought the alcohol ban was a good idea.

"Whatever you need to do, you need to do." Joe Schlaffer visiting from Pennsylvania said.

However, a family at Coconuts on the Beach visiting from Orlando disagreed.

[RELATED: Interactive map shows Florida coronavirus cases]

Ashley Quickle brought alcohol to the beach because she said her group did not see the new signs. They said they would return their drinks to their car to not risk getting a ticket. 

"I think if we're away from everybody minding our own, I think we should still be OK to drink on the beach," Quickle said. 

The latest temporary restriction follows Brevard County closing all public beach parking lots and the Cocoa Beach Pier closing.

“We are sending a message, ‘do not come to the beaches,’” McKnight said.

However, most beaches are actually still open.

There are some beach businesses still open too, but now because of the governor’s executive order, restaurants like Coconuts on the Beach have to suspend dining in and can only offer takeout.

Owner Christina Artz said her 150 employees were doing all the right things to make dining in customers feel comfortable. 

“We’re above and beyond being clean and safe,” Artz said.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.