BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach officials have reopened beaches for sunbathing, sitting in chairs and all other activities within city limits during the coronavirus pandemic — but groups must be five people or fewer, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
Since April 2, both cities joined a group of Brevard County beachside communities in limiting beach activities to walking, jogging, biking, fishing, surfing and swimming during Florida's 30-day "safer at home" order.
“The City would like to thank our community for continuing to abide by the social distancing measures we have put in place at our beaches to safeguard our residents during this pandemic response,” Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker wrote in a Tuesday afternoon Facebook post.
“Since these measures have been put in place, the beaches have been areas of strong compliance, while still giving our residents a place to exercise and relax,” Barker wrote.
"As such, the City is now allowing all beach activities to take place, including sunbathing and sitting on the beach. However, we will be limiting activities on the beach to groups of five or less, and we will continue to limit any congregating on the boardwalks," she wrote.
"Our beach public parking remains closed as well," she wrote.
Cocoa Beach’s executive order specifies that beachgoers must practice social distancing of at least 6 feet in all directions. Beach parking, beach access parking and the downtown parking garage remain closed.
“It’s time to get back out get some sun. Just get back to normal really,” Kellin Codrington said.
Codrington found out about the new change on Tuesday and came to Cocoa Beach bright and early Wednesday morning.
“I’ve been at my house for a month and I’m ready to just get out. Really there’s only so many projects you can do at home,” Codrington said.
“I’m very happy to see people here and enjoying the beach. That’s why we live here, right?” Catherine Navarro.
Navarro lives in New York and was in Central Florida visiting her son. She said she's glad people still have to practice social distancing on the sand.
“There’s still a virus out there, out here. You have to be careful,” Navarro said.
The Indian Harbour Beach City Council will discuss the topic of opening beaches during a Thursday afternoon workshop, City Manager Mark Ryan said.
Indialantic Mayor Dave Berkman said his town will likely make a beach announcement Friday patterned after Cocoa Beach-Satellite Beach’s newest regulations, though the topic remains under review.
During the last weekend of March, Satellite Beach, Cocoa Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic and Melbourne Beach announced temporary daytime beach closures, fearing a crush of visitors from Orlando and Central Florida.