Volusia, Flagler beaches prepare for busy holiday weekend with added COVID-19 precautions

Lifeguards to patrol beaches, encourage social distancing

Beachgoers are already out in full force to celebrate the July Fourth weekend and many people are trying to do it safely.

Beachgoers are already out in full force to celebrate the July Fourth weekend and many people are trying to do it safely.

"We usually come out to watch the fireworks but none this year so, we're just going to hang out at the beach all day," said Brooke Chilly.

Chilly said she’s not too concerned about a crowded Flagler Beach and said people are doing a good job spreading themselves out. Trey Stevenson agreed with Chilly and said he’s staying safe by not staying still.

"Try to keep moving. Try not to sit in one spot, close to another family. That's why we decided to just walk and come back," said Stevenson.

Both told News 6 they appreciate the city of Flagler Beach for being proactive and offering another year of free shuttle services from the mainland to the beach on Saturday, alleviating traffic congestion. The city said residents must wear face masks on the bus and will have them available for riders.

"I think it'll help because the street does get pretty crowded. A lot of people just drive back and forth looking for a spot. So, I think if they know where to go for the shuttle, I think it'll make it a lot easier," said Chilly.

According to county officials, coach style buses will shuttle visitors from Flagler Square to Veterans Park and back, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 6:00 p.m. on the Fourth of July. ”Park and Ride” shuttle buses will make continuous loops to accommodate those wishing to utilize this service, officials said.

In Volusia County, social distancing signs pepper the beaches to remind folks to space out. The county also emphasized the importance of parking in front of the blue poles to keep beaches from overcrowding.

"When they're directed to park in their pointed spot, you're already social distancing," said Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley.

Lifeguards will be on four-wheelers to make sure beachgoers are following social distancing guidelines and will recommend off-beach parking lots that run up and down the coast from New Smyrna Beach to Ormond Beach.

“The beaches are one of the safest places you can be. Outside, sunshine, social distancing, following the guidelines that we have,” said Kelley.

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.