People will be allowed to sit and sunbathe. However, beach driving — with the exception of the three ramps open for ADA access — is still prohibited.
Starting Saturday, May 2, all Volusia beaches will reopened to all activities except beach driving, as part of the county's phased Relaunch Volusia plan.
County Council Chair Ed Kelley made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday, April 30, where he said the essential exercises requirement will be lifted, thus allowing people to sunbathe and sit on the beach. Only the beach ramps at 3rd Avenue, Williams Avenue and Dunlawton Boulevard remain open for ADA access only. The county is also going to be enforcing stricter social distancing guidelines — groups should be composed of six people or less and space themselves 10 feet apart from other groups. Kelley asked the community to abide by these guidelines as the county looks to further reopening measures, and if possible, avoid flocking to the beach this Saturday all at once.
"It's for your safety," Kelley said. "It's for the safety of others and it's so we can be allowed to keep the beaches open. The last thing that we ever want to do is to even think about having to do what they did in California and what they're doing tomorrow."
California's governor has issued an order to close all beaches.
The county is also reopening off-beach parking lots with limited spaces. The following will open on May 2:
- Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park
- Argosy Beach Park
- Cardinal Drive Beach Park
- Frank Rendon Park
- Hiles Boulevard Beach Park
- Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
- Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park
- Tom Renick Park
- Sun Splash Park
- Toronita Avenue Beach Park
- University Boulevard Beach Park
- Winterhaven Park
- Wisteria Road Parking Lot
- Dahlia Avenue Park
- Lighthouse Point Park
- Smyrna Dunes Park
Restroom, splash pads and showers will remain closed at this time.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said residents should take care to not "overrun" certain areas of the beach and that they spread out. As the county reopens, Chitwood said it was time for "baby steps" to get back to where we were to avoid seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
"We want to show California and the rest of the country that has a beach that Volusia County is going to do it the right way," Chitwood said.
County Manager George Recktenwald called for people's cooperation with social distancing. On Sunday, April 26, the county issued 1,200 warnings to people trying to circumvent the rules. The county doesn't want to see that, he said.
"[Beach Safety] folks are out there to save your life — save your life out in the ocean," Recktenwald said. "... If they're having to patrol for what really is a simple self-responsibility action, then I think we're using up resources unnecessarily."
Kelley also asked that people who have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 stay home and limit their risk of exposure. Volusia County will also partially open libraries on May 4 for limited computer use by appointment only. The libraries were this service will be available are:
- Daytona Beach Regional Library
- DeBary Public Library
- DeLand Regional Library
- Deltona Regional Library
- Dickerson Heritage Library
- Edgewater Public Library
- New Smyrna Beach Public Library
- Ormond Beach Regional Library
- Port Orange Regional Library