By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
April 29, 2020

The Board of County Commissioners convened at 6PM and it took just 17 minutes for them to begin the discussion of County beaches.

That meeting had been postponed twice as they awaited to hear from Governor DeSantis about his plans for re-opening the State.

County Manager/County Attorney Michael Mullin began by reading excerpts from the deluge of emails received. At this meeting, it appeared emails received were overwhelmingly in favor of opening the beaches. A significant contingency of horse-riders also wrote in to express their opinions in favor of opening the beaches to commercial activities like those of the equestrian variety. Several non-residents of Nassau County also wrote/called in to have their comments inserted as part of the official record.

Mullin talked of numerous consultations and communications between Nassau County officials and authorities in Fernandina Beach including the City Manager.

At the end of the day, Mullin will be signing an executive order to re-open Nassau County beaches on Friday, May 1st, 2020 within these guidelines:

• no parking on the beach
• no driving on the beach except for official vehicles (such as those involved in turtle patrol)
• hours of operation are 6am – 9pm
• parking areas will be open from 6am – 9pm
• all individuals allowed on the beach subject to adhering to CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines – most importantly, those involving social distancing
• no horses or horse trailers
• nothing larger than a pick-up truck in parking lots
• violations will be subject to a $500 fine and jail time

All commissioners were in agreement with the plan outlined.

Nassau County Health Department official Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, director of the Florida Department of Health in Nassau County reported on the latest numbers for the County:

• 56 total cases in Nassau County
• a 4% rate of positivity of the over 1400 tests administered
• hospitals have never exceeded capacity nor have they had to go into crisis mode

Greg Foster, Director of Emergency Operations, concurred with recommendations.

Mullin then noted that while other beach communities (like St. John’s County, for instance) have restricted activities — like sitting or sunbathing — he believes such restrictions create more issues vis a vis legal and enforcement challenges.

Commission Chair Daniel Leeper said he believes the County’s decision to open on Friday, May 1 will help mediate crowds when the City opens its beaches on May 4th. He also went on to say he hopes to open County beaches to commercial activities as soon as possible – activities like horseback riding. It was Commissioner Thomas Ford who raised that concern.

The BOCC voted unanimously to open beaches on Friday, May 1, 2020.

Share this story!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rebecca Klein
Rebecca Klein
1 year ago

Hello,

Does Nassau County have 64 cases as stated in your article or 56 cases as stated below your article?

Thank you.

Rebecca Klein

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca Klein

The 56 cases were up to April 28, while the 64 cases were up to April 29. It appears that 8 new cases were reported on April 29, the largest number of cases reported since reporting began in early March.

Cindy Jackson
Cindy Jackson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca Klein

Mr. Tomes is correct. Thank you for helping to get the correct information out there!

Rebecca Klein
Rebecca Klein
1 year ago

Does Nassau County have 64 cases as stated in your article or 56 cases as stated below your article?

Thank you.

Betsie Huben
Betsie Huben
1 year ago

Not clear about activities on the beach. Can folks “hang out” and sit on beach or is beach limited to “essential activities” as the city is currently planning (running, walking, jogging, walking pet but no sun bathing etc.)? Appreciate any help you can provide.

Cindy Jackson
Cindy Jackson
1 year ago
Reply to  Betsie Huben

Sitting on the beach, at a safe social distance is allowed. They made that decision to make sure everyone could enjoy the beaches —including individuals with physical challenges.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago
Reply to  Betsie Huben

CDC guidelines say to stay 6 feet away from anybody else and do not gather with anyone outside of your household. I know how dog-walkers love to chat on the beach, so just don’t see that happening.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago

I appreciate having the beaches open for joggers, surfers, fisherpeople, and others who are not socializing, but I am concerned at how lax many people have become over the past week by not adhering to the social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines and how this will translate to an increase in COVID-19 cases in our community. Many people going to the grocery stores and home improvement stores are acting like there is no deadly virus out there, where it still most adamantly is (according to the county Health Department figures and reporting in the news, Thursday, April 29, saw the largest daily number of COVID-19 cases reported – 8 – since reporting began in early March). I fear the short attention spans and impatience of a few people, and the pandering to them by our elected officials, will make it worse for us all.

Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet
1 year ago

“pandering”? Really? The only pandering that has gone on here on AI has been o he endless news nonsense of The Commissioners and yet another “Proclamation”. JAX mayor “opened” the beaches!!!!! Heaven forbid!!!! End of the World as we know I t!!!! What happened to the C-19 number of cases? NOTHING.

Masks in January? CDC, not needed, ditto February Masks, Ditto March Madness Masks. Now? REQUIRED or you will be sent home!!!!!. Nonsense. Ditto “social distancing” Just where did 6ft come from?, sometimes it’s now 8 ft soon to be 10ft.? Rubber dish pan gloves and duct tape the other day at Harris Teeters store only to see this woman open her car, load in groceries, close her car door with the same gloves on and drive off? Cross contamination anyone?

Look at “at risk” nursing homes and high density urban city centers. What do you see? Yes, you see cases. Workplace outbreaks with workers shoulder to shoulder? Yes cases. Religious fervor ceremonies? Yes, you will cases as there is not even a clue of “social” distancing. Look at outlying areas, rural? Beaches? single digit cases. I guess we all can feel good having “flattened the curve” not walking those deadly beaches. Hold that thought as you stand in a food line shoulder to shoulder like JAX unemployment lines where people were afraid someone would “cut the line” as the economic fiber of what was the United states of Amerika goes down the drain due to “safe at home”.. Speaking of dog walkers on the beach…..how’s about woman people walkers three shoulder to shoulder on the Simmons Road Federal Bike Path? I am sure the C-19 Police will come around to shoo them off the bike path. The insanity will continue until your attitude is property inline with Party Thought.

Don’t believe the above? I understand and I do have a wonderful Fairytale for you to read.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago

Mr. Velvet, there are dozens of instances all over the country where gatherings (funeral services, weddings, elections in Wisconsin, etc.) produced hot spots of C-19 outbreaks. Yesterday saw a doubling of the number of daily cases in our own Nassau County than we had ever seen before. People are getting lax and it is showing in a spike in new C-19 cases. Perhaps you and your family are healthy, and I am glad for it, and you see no need to worry. I would like to stay healthy, too, and it depends on everybody adhering to the practices that we know will resist the spread of the virus and by staying diligent with that for a while longer.

Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

I believe that now at age 66 I have a fairly well developed sense of risk assessment and risk avoidance. My “BS” government infomercials meter is also well developed. The nonsense and inconsistent statements coming out of Big Gobernment(i.e. the CDC) since February are legion. Look back at statements re masks having no effect whatsoever in February and into March(because Gents there were none to be had), the statements about “cures”, the statements about the infamous 6ft rule, soon to go to 8ft? 10ft? The real clincher was a few weeks back when someone came up with the pronouncement the ocean waves will carry the virus so stay away from the oceans!

No one is getting “lax”. What people have sadly done is allow themselves to internalize that gobernment in any form will “save” them. Perhaps from your own stupidity. Use your God given brain, process information supplied and act accordingly. Blanket across the board “lock downs” will be killing alot more than a virus. Normal pre BC-1 is long gone. Remember all of this as you stand in line shoulder to shoulder for food. Yes, businesses are to open next week. Question is who will have money to spend?

Don’t believe the above? I have yet another wonderful Fairytale for you to read.

11
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x