Brevard County, Fla. – In an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Florida, Brevard County Commissioners announced all beaches along the Space Coast will close through the weekend during the day but remain open on weekdays.
The emergency order comes hours after Satellite Beach announced it is closing access to all public beaches for several hours this weekend, according to an emergency executive order issued Thursday.
All county, municipal and Patrick Air Force Base-area beaches will close Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but remain open on the weekdays, County Commissioner Bryan Lober said.
Residents with beachfront property will still be able to access areas of their property along the beach.
The county order is in compliance with a recent executive order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, asking all beachgoers to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings on Florida’s beaches.
“The hope is this will keep visitor numbers down while allowing residents to continue about their lives,” Lober said.
County officials said any efforts to access the beaches through dunes is prohibited and will be enforced. People will be asked to leave if they are on the beach during the restricted hours but if they refuse they could be arrested, Lober said.
“I would prefer to see no one arrested over this,” he said, adding the county may consider more restriction if people are not practicing social distancing.
“If I hear its like Mardi Gras, essentially shoulder-to-shoulder then we might have to take more actions,” Lober said.
[Timeline: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]
The move comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continues to climb. According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, more than 2,350 coronavirus cases have been reported statewide. At least 13 cases have been reported in Brevard County.