VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, restrooms and showers at Volusia County beaches will reopen to members of the public but those who need to use the facilities are reminded to wash their hands and practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley made the announcement Wednesday afternoon during a coronavirus news briefing alongside other local leaders. He said county council members pushed to get the beachside bathrooms opened as soon as possible.
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The initial delay in reopening restrooms, even as the shores started accepting sunbathers, was to make sure it could be done safely.
“Restrooms present a challenge because they provide an opportunity for the easy spread of germs and bacteria. You can go to the beach, park your car, walk to the sand, swim in the ocean and arguably not touch a surface anyone else has touched -- that’s not the same with bathrooms,” Kelley said.
He added that cleaning and sanitation services will be brought in.
Even still, Dr. Margaret G. Crossman, the chief medical officer at Halifax Health, urges anyone using a bathroom to take precautions. That includes washing your hands and using a paper towel that you then throw away if you need to touch any surfaces.
“Assume everything is a restroom is contaminated even if it’s being cleaned and disinfected regularly,” she said.
Kelley didn’t have a date for when driving on the beach will be allowed once again, but said leaders are working on rolling that out during the second phase of reopening beaches, which has yet to be finalized.
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“We want to do that as soon as possible... let’s make sure we do this right. That we can allow the vehicles to access and follow the social distancing and the one thing that I’ve said all along is what better way to have social distancing than to have vehicles able to drive on the beach and access parking spots away from the rest of the people,” Kelley said.
Council members are expected to discuss and potentially finalize the phases of reopening Volusia County during Tuesday’s meeting.