Canes Covering Coronavirus, Florida, Vero Beach

As beaches reopen, residents observe and disregard social distancing rules

Emmalyse Brownstein
Vero Beach, Florida
12:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 28

As beaches reopen, residents observe and disregard social distancing rules

Several public beaches in my town and county have reopened to the public for “essential activities” following an April 25 announcement by the office of the Indian River County administrator.

Blankets, chairs, coolers, umbrellas and tents are still prohibited on the beach and social distancing practices of staying 6 feet apart and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people are still in place. But now, according to the announcement, running, walking, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and other exercise activities are permitted on beaches.

People already had been bending the beach closure rules. When on a run or walk on the boardwalk, I’ve spotted couples walking down on the sand. I know people who have been going surfing with their friends. And a few days ago I even saw a man set up on the beach with two fishing poles.

Many Vero Beach residents took advantage of the first day of open beaches in front of the Ocean Grill restaurant on Tuesday afternoon —I spotted many people following guidelines, and several others not.

So when I saw several people on the sand with blankets and beach chairs today, I can’t say I was all that surprised. On the other hand, I also saw many people who were following the rules. Several couples walked down the beach, keeping plenty of distance from others.

Although the announcement mentioned county officials will be enforcing guidelines, I think it will be difficult to control.

I miss sitting on the beach as much as anyone. In this small town with not much going on, it’s one of the best things to do. But I don’t plan on breaking any of the guidelines — I’m lucky enough to live where I can simply walk a few blocks and see the water from the street, even if I can’t actually sit in the sand.


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