Which Florida Beaches Are Open? Counties Allow Sunbathing, Surfing As State Confirms Over 27,000 Coronavirus Cases

On April 1, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order that is set to expire on April 30. But De Santis allowed beaches to reopen on April 17, as the coronavirus continues to impact Florida.

Some Florida counties have already opened their beaches with others planning to do so soon, as the state reports more than 27,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. Counties across Florida are reopening beaches, and while the public is encouraged to practice social distancing, some beaches are allowing recreational activities and sunbathing.

However, officials of certain areas of Florida are reluctant to reopen their beaches and have criticized others' decisions to do so.

The Mayor of Miami Beach, Dan Gelber, said in a video statement, "I'm sorry but we will just have to do without beach access for the near future," adding that it's unlikely that Miami's beaches will reopen before early June.

Miami-Dade County closed its beaches on March 19, after thousands gathered at the beach for Spring Break. As of April 22, there are more than 10,000 confirmed cases and more than 200 deaths of COVID-19 in Miami-Dade county.

Representative Donna Shalala also criticized DeSantis's decision to reopen the beaches, calling it "reckless" and telling CNN: "It tells you that one state can't make a set of decisions that are inconsistent with public health and with science, because it's going to affect another state."

Which Florida beaches are open?

Bay County

Bay County will open the beaches in unincorporated parts of the county on April 24, from 6-9 a.m. and then 5-8 p.m. According to a local media outlet, commissioner Philip Griffitts said: "This is not an invitation for people to come down here. This is strictly for our locals to be able to get outside."

Brevard County

Cocoa Beach officials are allowing locals to sunbathe and sit in chairs on beaches, as long as people practice social distancing and don't gather in groups of more than five people, according to WESH.

Charlotte County

Charlotte County announced that it will reopen Englewood Beach and Port Charlotte Beach from April 27 with regularly scheduled hours, pending coordination with Sarasota County.

Dixie County

According to Orlando Weekly, Dixie County beaches have remained open throughout the shelter-in-place order.

Jacksonville Florida Beach
People are seen at the beach on April 17, 2020, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Duval County's beaches would open at 5 p.m. but only for restricted hours and can only be used for swimming, running, surfing, walking, biking, fishing, and taking care of pets. Sam Greenwood/Getty

Duval County

The beaches and parks in Duval County reopened on April 17 evening for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing, with the condition that people practice social distancing.

Flagler County

Flager County is reopening its beaches temporarily today, depending on how the public follow social distancing guidelines. The beaches will open for walking, biking, surfing, and fishing, but not congregating. The city of Flagler Beach will from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day and the unincorporated areas will be open from 7-10 a.m. and from 6-8 p.m.

Gulf County

Gulf County opened its beaches on April 21, and the beaches will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. and then 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. No activities are prohibited.

Levy County

Levy County's Cedar Key beaches are open to residents and those with reservations, according to Orlando Weekly.

Monroe County

According to the Miami Herald, Monroe County never closed its beaches. However, unincorporated Monroe has few beaches people visit, and all municipalities in the Keys, including Key West, Marathon, and Islamorada, have closed their beaches. State parks with beaches, including John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, are closed, too.

Okaloosa

Okaloosa County will open its beaches on May 1 from 6.30-9 a.m. and then 4.30-7 p.m.

St. Johns County

St. Johns County reopened its beaches on April 18, and they are open from 6 a.m. until noon, every day of the week.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC.
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.