Walton County Beaches Opening May 1

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by Kurt Lischka, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    At today's BCC meeting, the following language is expected to be approved:

    As of 12:01 a.m. May 1, 2020, the beaches within Walton County, Florida are open with the following restrictions:

    a.All permits for vending on the beach shall be suspended and no vending on the beach shall be permitted while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect;

    b.All special events on the beach shall be suspended and no special events on the beach shall be permitted while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect;

    c.Individuals on the beach shall limit their activities to those authorized by or reasonably related to the essential recreational activities contained in Executive Order 20-91;

    d.Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply...

    Full agenda...
    https://walton.civicweb.net/document/67744
     
  2. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-68 which states that the Governor “support beach closures at the discretion of local authorities.”

    WHEREAS, on March 27, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-87 which ordered the suspension of vacation rental operations, and on April 10, 2020, the Governor extended Executive Order 20-87 through Executive Order 20-103;

    WHEREAS, on April 1, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-91 which ordered all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities;

    WHEREAS, Executive Order 20-91 and 20-103 are both set to expire on April 30, 2020;

    WHEREAS, Emergency Ordinance 2020-09, which closed the beaches in Walton County,is set to expire on April 30, 2020;

    WHEREAS, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners finds and determines that adoption of Emergency Ordinance 2020-09 and the suspension of vacation rental operations through Executive Orders 20-87 & 20-103were successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Walton County, resulting in two several day periods in the month of April with no new cases.
     
  3. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Note that if the rental suspension is not extended beyond Thursday, Florida beach communities like SoWal will get crowded very quickly.
     
  4. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Yep. It seems like our BCC would want to take that into account before moving forward with opening the beaches.
     
  5. S-dubOg

    S-dubOg Beach Crab

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    Not sure why the county and beaches will be open for business but beach vendors will still not be allowed to operate? I know there are VASTLY different opinions on beach vending in general in this forum and am not trying to make this post about those deep rooted opinions. Just wondering what the justification is? Our grocery stores, gas stations, greens, restaurants and even beaches can be overrun with potentially infected outsiders but not setting up some chairs and umbrellas or renting some paddle boards will keep us safe? If I were in the beach vending business I would be feeling particularly singled out. Again, not going into the personal opinions on the industry, but it is a legitimate industry with legitimate businesses that employ locals who are out of work and hurting just like many of us. If the county feels short term rentals are safe again, opening us up to people from all over the country with no screening, how can they say ANYTHING else is still not allowed and thus implying ANYTHING else is more dangerous right now than short term rentals?
     
  6. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    The county doesn't have any control over the short term rentals or bars or restaurants. The state controls those with the governor's executive order that expires on Apr 30.

    Regarding the vending, not sure what the county's logic is there.
     
  7. RL41

    RL41 Beach Lover

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    Hard to know what DeSantis is going to do here; he's saying things like "moving forward in baby steps", "opening up responsibly", which would lead you to believe he understands what a mistake opening up short term rentals at this time would be, but something tells me he is going to let the rental ban expire.
     
  8. STL Don

    STL Don Beach Fanatic

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    Doesn’t executive order 2091 preclude sitting on the beach for reading or other activities (or inactivity)
     
  9. justhavinfun

    justhavinfun Beach Fanatic

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    He and POTUS are scheduled for a joint press conference soon in Dc - that can't have be a positive sign of things to come..
     
  10. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    I'm not sure. It mentions recreation as an essential activity and then lists some examples.
     
  11. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    My guess is that when beaches are open we need all the room we can get to socially distance on the beach without the competition for sand that comes with lines of chairs and umbrellas everywhere. Also, opening the beaches right now should be a way for locals to get outside for recreation. Not necessarily for sunbathing next to others all day. Some of our public beaches are small and easily crowded. Especially with Florida State Parks being closed.

    The work for vendors setting up and managing chairs on a beach just doesn't sound essential to me. Maybe others have a different opinion.

    I'm sure vendors will be allowed soon enough.
     
  12. justhavinfun

    justhavinfun Beach Fanatic

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    In watching the last commission meeting I though the reason behind that decision was there was concern about the beach vendors ability to properly disinfect the equipment.. Maybe someone else saw or heard something different
     
  13. SeaFern

    SeaFern Beach Lover

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    Just watched the last half hour of the WCCC meeting. I wish I hadn't...the level of ignorance is astounding. They spent quite a bit of time arguing about whether sitting in a chair as opposed to lying on a towel would be any safer, or if you're fishing but sitting in a chair with an umbrella it's okay as long as you're not sunbathing. I wish it were a comedic skit but no, these are our commissioners. If they had agreed to do a more phased-in safer approach, like only walking in the morning and evenings, that makes more sense to me. But to have everything open and then try to regulate some of these activities is mind boggling. We don't need to waste our deputies time patrolling sunbathing violations.

    The next meeting topic was that they admitted that they will probably see more positive cases in the near term, but they would "deal with it as it comes, as long as there are no deaths". Listening to these jokers try to create a contingency plan after the fact, makes me feel like spending the last month locked down was a waste of my time. Oh, and it was stated if you don't want to be exposed to the virus, use your common sense and just don't go to the beach, WalMart or Publix. Thanks for keeping us safe.
     
  14. RL41

    RL41 Beach Lover

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    A huge part of the problem is that Walton County has no control *at all* over vacation rentals; the influx of people from major metro areas as soon as the vacation rental ban expires is going to cause the biggest problem of all and the county has no power to address it.
     
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  15. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    During the Walton County Board of County Commissioner's (WCBCC) meeting that took place beginning at 9:00 a.m., this morning, Tuesday, April 28th, the following action was taken by the WCBCC regarding the opening of the Beaches of Walton County.


    The WCBCC has passed Resolution 2020-35, which updates the County's Local State of Emergency.


    This Resolution was passed with the following language regarding the opening of Walton County's beaches and parks which will become effective on Friday, May 1st.


    Beginning on Friday, at 12:01 a.m. May 1, 2020, the beaches within Walton County, Florida will be open with the following restrictions:

    • All permits for vending on the beach shall be suspended and no vending on the beach, including private beaches, shall be permitted while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect.

    • All permits for beach bonfires shall be suspended. No fire permits will be issued while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect.

    • All special events on the beach shall be suspended and no special events on the beach shall be permitted while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect.

    • Individuals on the beach shall limit their activities to walking, jogging, fishing, swimming, paddleboarding, surfing and boating.

    • Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply.
    In addition to the action above, the WCBCC has taken action to open all County parks and the Eagle Springs Golf Course. No more than ten (10) people and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply at all parks and the golf course.


    At this time, the Governor's Executive Orders 20-91 (Safer at Home) and 20-103 (Short-Term Rental Ban), continue to be in effect until April 30, 2020. The County will continue to monitor any action taken by the Governor regarding these or other Executive Orders, and will release information as it is received.
     
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  16. sunny850

    sunny850 Beach Lover

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    While I understand they don’t have control over vacation rentals, the people who rent are going to go where there are the least restrictions on activity and time of day. That is why the counties to the east and west of us applied those restrictions - to slowly open the beaches to tourists. Our commissioners have chosen to make Walton County the most inviting beach around. Therefore we will see even more vacationers than normal in a few days. Everyone who normally rents in Bay Or Okaloosa County will be in Walton. I pray we don’t see a huge spike in cases.
     
  17. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb Beach Lover

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    People, if you are afraid of a “spike in cases” or want the “government to keep you safe” there’s a simple answer. Self quarantine, stay inside with your mask and gloves on. You do have control of your own actions. Stop trying to force your mindset on others.
     
  18. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I don't get no sunbathing. I am not going to the beach. I can and will wait. But if you can go do all the other activities on the beach then sunbathing with social distancing could be just as healthy for getting outside as the rest.
     
  19. RL41

    RL41 Beach Lover

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb Beach Lover

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    Agreed, on sunbathing. Are the code enforcers in their new trucks and deputies going to go around telling folks they can’t sunbathe? More creating hoops to jump through by “leaders”. Kind of like the fun house entrance ritual at Walmarts .
     

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