What the beach reopening plan could look like for Okaloosa County

Since the beaches in Okaloosa County have closed, there has been an ongoing discussion of when they will reopen. Everything from limiting use to locals-only to restricted beach use. Now, it looks like the county might be ready to implement a series of reopenings done in phases.

According to Okaloosa County, The Beach Opening Plan described below is an attempt to aggregate best practices, State executive orders, COVID-19 situational awareness, and local legislative direction.

All phases are presumed to have social distancing measures remaining in place at this time, subject to future modification as each phase is considered.

Proposed Beach Opening Plan

Phase 0 – Closed Beach – All Activity is prohibited.

Phase I – Limited Beach Opening – Essential Recreational Activities such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, or swimming during the hours of 6AM-8AM and 6PM-8PM. Excluded Commercial Activities: Beach Vending, Weddings, and the Pier.
Estimated approximately 1-3 weeks. Proposed Starting Date as determine by BOCC.

Phase II – Expanded Beach Opening – Same activities as Phase I plus commercial Activities (Pier, Beach Vendors, Small Weddings – Under 10) and 1 additional hour to previous times frames.
Estimated approximately 1-2 weeks. Flexible Starting Date

Phase III – Full Beach Opening – All Activities Permitted – New Normal Operations Flexible Starting Date – Generally may tie into consideration of COVID-19 Situational Criteria and Governor Lifting or modification of Executive Order 20-68 (bar and restaurants”), 20-71 (“alcohol sales and restaurants” and any other protective orders which would have great impact on community safety by doing so.

The Board of County Commissioners will meet this week to further discuss opening the beaches in Okaloosa County. We will report more after their meeting.

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