Okaloosa could reopen all beaches in full on May 9

At their April 21st meeting, the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners approved a modification to allow the closed beaches and associated amenities to be open for limited periods each day, between 6:30am- 9:00am and 4:30pm-7:00pm.

The beach plan allows open periods for all “essential recreational activities” in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91, subject to social distancing guidelines. The limited beach opening is set to begin on May 1st with the beaches remaining closed at all other times.

While many people have questioned the limited time, according to the county, these limitations are designed to be a “disincentive to travel from outside the County from potential COVID-19 hot spots.”

After discussion at this morning’s commissioner’s meeting, Commissioner Kelly Windes made a motion to completely open all beaches at all times effective May 9th, with social distancing guidelines in place. This would include parking lots, bathrooms, etc. The reason for the May 9th date is because of new guidelines anticipated to come from Governor DeSantis by then.

The motion passed unanimously, but this isn’t a guarantee that the beaches will reopen on May 9th. Staff will now work on a plan given this direction from the board and bring it back next week for further discussion.

So, here’s what we have:

  • May 1 – limited beach hours of 6:30am- 9:00am and 4:30pm-7:00pm
  • May 9 – Potentially reopening the beaches in full at all times

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