The beaches of Santa Rosa County remain open. County officials said the beaches will remain open as long as the public follows the guidelines of social distancing. That means groups no larger than 10 people can congregate.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon in Milton, Dan Schebler, county administrator said the decision to keep the beaches open will be reassessed daily. Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office will monitor the situation to make sure beachgoers keep apart a healthy distance.
In response to questions about the second case of coronavirus in the county, Health Officer Sandra L. Park-O’Hara would only identify the person as a 48-year-old who had traveled internationally.
“It was not community spread,” she said the of patient’s exposure.
Also, the city of Gulf Breeze announced the city council there declared a state of emergency Thursday morning. Mayor Cherry Fitch said the declaration was made to be in line with the county’s emergency declaration in response to COVID-19. She added that she thought the decision by Pensacola Beach hotels to halve occupancy might ease traffic congestion through her city as well as aid in the plea for social distancing.
Milton City Manager Randy Jorgenson said public facilities in the county seat have “essentially shut down,” however parks are open and invited the public to enjoy them as long as they heed the advice of public health officials.
Commission Chairman Don Salter rallied the community to show some personal responsibility and follow the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Health.
“We’re a resilient county,” Salter said. “We will get through this together.”