‘We do not want to have to close our beaches’: Brevard Sheriff urges people to practice social distancing on shore

Beaches, boat ramps to remain open

Cocoa Beach, during the coronavirus pandemic (WKMG)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard County Sheriff said Monday beaches within the county will remain open, despite other Central Florida beach closures.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey said closing beaches would hurt the community and is not a necessary restriction to make at this time.

“Our citizens love our beaches and we want to make sure they have access to them,” he said in a news conference.

Flagler County closed its beaches Monday. Volusia County has restricted car access in efforts to reduce the number of beachgoers.

Ivey acknowledged the beach crowds in Brevard County, saying he’s working with county beach officials and other law enforcement agencies to make sure they control the number of people gathering to the extent that they can.

His office will also provide beach patrols ensuring beachgoers are practicing social distancing.

“A lot of times what we’re finding is the groups that are out there they’re not necessarily worried about contracting this because of maybe their age or the situation they’re in” he said. “What we have to keep in mind is they can take that back to somebody that is at risk for this.”

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

Deputies will also visit restaurants and bars to enforce the Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide restrictions on alcohol and in-restaurant dining, providing business owners with a copy of his executive order, according to the sheriff.

Ivey said personal and public boat ramps are also allowed to remain open in the interest of providing an outdoor activity for families and that 10 people or less are aboard the watercraft.

“I have no interest in closing them,” he said. “People need an outlet. So far what we’ve seen, people are doing exactly what we’ve asked.”

Ivey said his approach to the coronavirus is to not further restrict the community but to use education and awareness to drive the point that coronavirus is a real threat.

“You’ve heard me say a lot of times it takes a community to protect a community, this is an extension of that,” he said. “We need our community to work with us.”

As of Monday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health reported seven residents in Brevard County had tested positive for COVID-19 including an employee at Kennedy Space Center.

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