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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2020 2 weeks ago

Volusia beach ramps closed indefinitely, no further COVID-19 preventions

'Beachgoers must follow or exceed social distancing practices,' County Manager George Recktenwald said.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

All beach ramps in Volusia will remain closed until further notice, the county announced during a press conference on Tuesday, March 24. Volusia currently has 19 cases of coronavirus. 

County Manager George Recktenwald said this measure of crowd control for COVID-19 spread prevention worked in the last few days. The county is expecting the number of beachgoers to increase again this coming weekend, as well as a midday high tide. Recktenwald said this will likely cause clusters of people to be closer together, but that Volusia County Beach Safety will be enforcing the six-feet distancing guideline by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will make adjustments as necessary.

“We’re prepared to limit parking on our beachside lots as needed to proactively control any potential crowding," Recktenwald said. "Beachgoers must follow or exceed social distancing practices.”

The indefinite ramp closure is the only new prevention instated by Volusia. Sheriff Mike Chitwood announced that at this time, there is no expectation a shelter-in-place order or a curfew will be issued. 

On the curfew aspect, Chitwood said he and the other police chiefs in the county consulted on the matter, and looked at crime data from an overall perspective.

“We already have everything shut down," Chitwood said. 'Bars, restaurants, nightclubs—there’s really nothing for anybody to do. Why institute another hardship on our community?”

He added that he doesn't see a need for a curfew now, but that could all change. The sheriff also urged residents to avoid panicking. 

“You have true professionals who have a passion for taking care of our community," Chitwood said. "So I would implore you to try to return to life as normal as you could live it in these times.”

Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley again asked people to follow the social distancing recommendations by the CDC, but said that people should not isolate themselves socially. He said people should continue to remotely check up on family members and friends.

Kelley also asked people only buy what they need at stores, and mentioned being glad today to have found eggs and ground beef at the store. He also said recently, he offered to trade a gallon of bleach for a four-pack of toilet paper, and received three offers, but no one wanted to take him up on the gallon of bleach.

“This is a community event and we need to be there for each other," Kelley said.

This story was updated at 9:46 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, to reflect current number of COVID-19 cases.

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