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Brevard sheriff unsure if Florida’s stay-at-home order requires beaches, boat ramps to close

Potential closures set to be discussed in Thursday meeting

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Sheriff Wayne Ivey said right now he is not sure whether Florida’s stay-at-home order, issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic, includes closing Brevard County’s beaches and boat ramps.

Walking, swimming and fishing are all deemed OK under the governor’s executive order, but county leaders said they first need the opinion of their legal team before making the final call.

[RELATED: Coronavirus: Florida governor issues statewide, 30-day stay-at-home order | Florida will soon be under a statewide stay-at-home order, here’s what it means]

"The order doesn't specifically say any of that is shut down," the sheriff said. "We're going to find out just how far the order extends."

Since the governor’s executive order came down Wednesday afternoon, County Commission Chairman Bryan Lober said he’s still pushing for the restrictions he’s pitched before, including on beaches and boat ramps.

“I don’t know that that would preclude someone from going to the beach,” Commissioner Lober said regarding the ability of residents to still go walking.

The chairman would need the support of his fellow commissioners, who last week all opposed his stance on limiting hours at county beaches on weekends.

[MORE: These businesses are considered essential under Florida’s stay-at-home order]

Officials with the county health department said as of Wednesday, Brevard County had 38 cases of COVID-19, and the worst of them included three people who ended up on ventilators.

The sheriff said if beaches and boat ramps would have to close under the governor’s order, his office would be prepared to enforce the closures.

“If that’s what it comes down to, we’ll be able to work that,” Ivey said. “The issue right now is, do we want to do that? You go to a boat ramp and you’re with your family, you all left the house together in the same car and you got there and you go out and you practice social distancing. Plus, you’re not sitting at home getting stressed."

The issue is set to be discussed at a Brevard County special commission meeting Thursday, according to county leaders.

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