Michael Ryan, Director of Communications for St. Johns County, informed local Historic City News reporters that St Johns County Beaches are now closed to pedestrians. We previously reported when the county banned vehicles from accessing the beach and closed all beach parking lots earlier last week.
The determination to close all public beaches is based upon a recommendation to reduce health risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 and beach overcrowding reported by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County Emergency Management, and local health officials.
“We had no choice but to close the coastline to public access today,” St Johns County District 1 commissioner James K. Johns told Historic City News. “We will continue to be methodical in our approach to closings related to COVID-19, and like every decision we have made to this point, we will open the beaches at the appropriate time when it is safe to do so.
All boat ramps, parks, green spaces, and trails remain open for the public to safely enjoy.
“In order to protect public health, safety, and welfare and maximize compliance with State of Florida Executive Order 20-68, all public beaches in St. Johns County are closed to public access under the local state of emergency,” Ryan informed local reporters. “Effective at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 29, the County’s beaches will be closed to the public and they will remain closed until further notice.”
“We have taken as many measures as possible up to this point to preserve our residents’ ability to access their beach. Unfortunately, those visiting the beach continue to ignore CDC guidelines regarding crowd size and personal distancing,” said Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator.
According to Conrad, the county has taken these steps in order to maintain public safety and respect the State of Florida’s Executive Order. For more information, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Management hotline at 904.824.5550.