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Change of plans: Some Brevard County beaches won’t be closing after all

Policy group reverses closure decision

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A day after announcing Brevard County beaches would be closed during the day this weekend to limit group gatherings and the spread of COVID-19, the decision has been reversed, meaning beaches will remain open.

A local policy group made the decision Friday afternoon, a few hours after commissioners voted that if the beaches were to be closed, there would be no punishment for anyone who violated the rule.

Although beaches will remain open for the time being, all beachside parking access and beachside parks will remain closed.

Had the closure not been rescinded, it would have required all county, municipal and Patrick Air Force Base-area beaches to close Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but remain open on the weekdays.

Leaders in Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach have issued beach restrictions of their own. Those will be enforced by local law enforcement.

Brevard County Communications Director Don Walker said commissioners felt the policy group that initially made the decision to close the beaches overstepped its authority.

Ultimately, the policy group voted to reverse the decision. Maria Stahl was the lone no vote on the matter.

However, anyone who visits the Space Coast may have trouble finding a place to stay.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a two-week freeze on new vacation rentals.

The suspension will “stem the flow of people illegally bucking stay-at-home orders from New York and other hot spot areas and flooding the state,” according to State Rep. Randy Fine.

DeSantis also said he was directing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to begin enforcing “social distancing” requirements on Florida’s waterways.

“Many people continue to violate social distancing requirements. You know you need to be in groups of 10 or less," DeSantis said. “What they are doing is they’re trying all these boats together and then having large group parties.”

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