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St. Johns County Joins Duval In Reopening Beaches On Limited Basis

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HEATHER SCHATZ/WJCT NEWS
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Mickler's Beach in Ponte Vedra Beach remained busy, despite COVID-19, until it was shutdown. Now it has reopened on a limited basis.

Late Friday morning St. Johns County announced a partial reopening of its public beaches.

St. Johns County beaches are now open from 6 a.m. to noon seven days a week, but with many of the same limitations going into effect at Duval’s limited reopening of its beaches.

St. Johns County said approved uses include physical activity and motion, including walking, running, exercise, surfing, biking, fishing, swimming, and other uses that require physical activity.

“Walk to exercise, not to socialize.” said Dawn C. Allicock, director and health officer of Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, in an email to WJCT News. “As long as individuals adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing, getting exercise and fresh air can be beneficial for our citizens’ physical and mental health.”

The county said visitors must continue to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines, including limiting gatherings to no more than ten people and distancing themselves from others by a minimum of 6 feet. All public parking lots are now open; however, on-beach driving remains prohibited.

Both counties say items not allowed on the beaches include blankets, chairs, coolers, umbrellas, tents, and any item that promotes a stationary presence.

More than 12,000 had signed a petition started by Chris Tincher of St. Augustine that called on St. Johns County officials to reopen the beaches on a limited basis.