TITUSVILLE, Fla. – UPDATE: Titusville police wrote in a tweet Friday that A. Max Brewer Bridge will remain open for this weekend’s launch. The eastbound and westbound lanes will be closed for one hour after the launch to accommodate for pedestrian traffic.
Original story below:
Shortly before SpaceX scrubbed Wednesday’s scheduled launch of two astronauts, hundreds of spectators gathered close together on the A. Max Brewer Bridge hoping to witness space history.
Besides blocking a lane of traffic that police tried to keep open for emergency vehicles, some have questioned whether the crowd was practicing proper social distancing to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“No. No they weren’t,” said Titusville Police Department Lt. Tyler Wright.
While the law enforcement agency reported few problems during Wednesday's launch attempt, the large crowds congregating on the bridge prompted discussions Thursday that could potentially lead to changes on where spectators can view Saturday's re-scheduled launch attempt.
With the new launch time occurring on a weekend, Space Coast officials predict an even larger number of people will attend.
“As far as what we’re going to do with the bridge, and foot traffic and everything, that’s still being worked out at this moment,” Wright said. “But our main concern is emergency vehicles being able to go east and west when we have the most amount of foot traffic out there, if foot traffic is going to be on the bridge. But that’s still yet to be determined if we’re going to allow that.”
Elsewhere in Brevard County, there are no immediate changes planned at popular launch viewing locations.
"We may have more personnel since we will have more people and traffic," said Brevard County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tod Goodyear.
Although sheriff's employees will once again be handing out donated masks and providing guidance on social distancing, Goodyear said spectators are responsible for adhering to CDC recommendations.
“There’s only so much we can do to educate,” Goodyear said.
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County did not address specific questions about Saturday's anticipated launch crowds, but offered advice on minimizing the spread of the virus.
“The Florida Department of Health in Brevard County supports the recommendations for social distancing, limiting groups to 10 or less, and the use of cloth face masks that are outlined in phase one of the report to Gov. DeSantis from the Re-Open Task Force,” the agency said in a statement. “Individuals who do not adhere to these guidelines are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and should monitor their health for 14 days. These individuals must also understand that not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 exhibits symptoms and they may place others, including family members and vulnerable individuals, at risk.”