St. Johns County beaches are now open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. seven days a week for uses that include physical activity and motion. Activities now permitted on St. Johns County beaches include walking, running, exercise, surfing, biking, fishing, swimming, surfing, and other uses that require physical activity. As lifeguards may not be on duty, all swimming is at done at your own risk.
“Walk to exercise not to socialize.” said Dawn C. Allicock, M.D., MPH, Director and Health Officer of Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County. “As long as individuals adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing, getting exercise and fresh air can be beneficial for our citizens’ physical and mental health.”
The grouping of persons, commercial activities, group sports, and activities that do not require motion, such as sunbathing and sitting, or those otherwise not allowed by local, state, or federal law are not permitted. In addition, items not allowed on the beach include blankets, chairs, coolers, umbrellas, tents, and any item that promotes a stationary presence. Beach visitors must continue to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines, including limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and distancing themselves from other parties by a minimum of six feet. All public parking lots are now open; however on-beach driving remains prohibited.
“From day one, every decision we have made has been methodical and deliberate without knee jerk actions or reactions, and this decision is no different. Our residents have shown extreme grace, measure, and personal responsibility throughout this pandemic, and our trend is beginning to flat line and has been doing so for nearly two weeks.” said Hunter S. Conrad, St. Johns County Administrator. “We also know this not over and we are urging all who use the beach to follow the restrictions in place. Our hope is that this becomes a great mental health release for so many and becomes the first step of many in the coming weeks and months in our return to normal life.”
St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine Beach, the City of St. Augustine, and local enforcement agencies request that all beach visitors comply with CDC guidelines. St. Johns County continues to evaluate and adapt all policies and practices in order to appropriately respond to COVID-19, and as such, the status of permitted beach activities will also be assessed and adjusted based on public compliance. For more information, call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Hotline at (904) 824-5550.