Navarre Beach will re-open fully May 6 from COVID-19 closures.
County Commissioners voted Tuesday, May 5, to rescind the limited hours order during a specially called meeting in Milton. Navarre Beach officially re-opened to public for limited hours May 1.
County officials expressed support for the decision. Sheriff Bob Johnson’s deputies were responsible for regulating the beach visitors. He said despite large numbers, individuals followed the social distancing guidance.
“Compressing the time, that makes it even worse for traffic,” Johnson pointed out. He added, “I think the citizens get it, and they’re keeping their distance.”
County Administrator Dan Schebler said he felt it was time to reassess the beach hours. He also pointed out that neighboring shorelines are opening further. He said the superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore is opening up the shore.
“He is planning to open parts of the National Seashore to include 399 connecting Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach,” Schebler said.
He said the plan is to re-open those facilities by the end of the week.
Santa Rosa Department of Health Administrator Sandy Park-O’Hara said the most recent data shows a steady decrease in new COVID-19 cases as well as a decline in reports of flu-like symptoms.
Emergency Management Director Brad Baker was also optimistic in his report to the board. He said testing has been increased, necessary protective equipment is available and the county is positioned to continue efforts to feed those that are struggling.
The motion to re-open passed without objection.