Flagler uses helicopters, ATVs to police closed beaches

County cites CDC guidelines amid coronavirus crisis

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – Flagler County is utilizing its resources, including a FireFlight helicopter, deputies and ATVs, to keep people off area beaches, which were closed earlier this week to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to a news release issued Thursday.

An emergency order was signed Sunday to close beaches and park facilities. Under the order, there is no delineation between public and private beaches.

Officials said a few people have been found wandering beaches and have been told to leave. They’ve also been informed of CDC guidelines about social distancing, staying in groups of 10 or less and 6 feet apart from others.

“We are using all the tools we have at our disposal – which includes asking for help from our law enforcement partners, like the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office – to ensure everyone is following public health guidelines and the emergency order closing the beach and parks,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. "FireFlight is now going up at least twice a day to check on things.”

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said most people are adhering to the order.

“For those who are not following the orders, we are patrolling the beaches on an ATV and educating beachgoers of the emergency order and the need to practice social distancing during this time. If businesses are not complying with the various orders, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation along with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco are being notified.”

Police patrol Florida beaches to enforce new coronavirus rules
Police patrol Florida beaches to enforce new coronavirus rules

Officials urge residents to wash their hands frequently, stay home when possible and avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Flagler County said all COVID-19 related questions should be directed to 866-779-6121.

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