Florida Beaches Started Reopening Yesterday Evening

As millions of Americans continue to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some signs of returning to normal — even though a vaccine is likely well over a year away.

Florida just made a big move that will be welcome news to beachgoers — even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.

Some beaches will re-open immediately.

Flickr | Paul Hamilton

The directive took effect the evening of Friday, April 17, 2020. Beaches in Jacksonville will open up again, making it among the first municipalities in the country to re-open closed beaches.

This comes after the state's governor, Ron DeSantis, gave municipalities the green light.

It won't be a free-for-all.


Social distancing rules are still in effect, so beachgoers are prohibited from sunbathing. They're still welcome to walk and bike along the beach, so long as they abide by social distancing guidelines.

The controversy continues.

Flickr | Jon Dawson

This comes just a few weeks after Florida was roundly criticized for keeping beaches open during spring break in the midst of the pandemic, likely exposing thousands of people to the virus.

To date, COVID-19 has killed nearly 700 Floridians.

Are we on the road to recovery?

Wikimedia Commons

Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry said, "This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life," adding that he's "encouraged" by evidence that Florida is flattening the infection curve.

They may not stay open.

Wikimedia Commons

"If we have to close the beach again, we'll do it," said Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham. "Safety is still our top priority."

Mayor of nearby Atlantic Beach, Ellen Glasser, said, "This is not a time to lounge. This is not a time to party. This is a time to exercise and keep moving."

It appears to be in line with what the president has announced.

Unsplash | Library of Congress

President Donald Trump said earlier this week that re-openings would happen on a local, rather than federal, level. Florida Governor DeSantis is a Republican, while states led by Democrats are generally taking a more cautious approach.

What do you think?

Unsplash | Hayden Dunsel

Everyone's eager to see a return to normalcy, but all evidence suggests that things won't be fully back to normal until 2021 or 2022. Let us know what you think of Florida's big move in the comments.