Volusia County beaches to use drones, 4-wheelers to monitor social distancing over July 4 weekend

Video: Volusia County beaches to use drones, 4-wheelers to monitor social distancing over July 4 weekend

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Some communities have announced that their beaches will close over the Fourth of July weekend due to increasing numbers in the coronavirus pandemic. But Volusia County officials said they have no plans to do so.

County officials describe the Fourth of July weekend as being like the World Series and Super Bowl all rolled up into one when it comes to the crowds at the beach.

Officials said as long as people are safe and space out, they’ll be fine. Banners and signs are being installed along the coast to encourage social distancing.

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“As long as everybody follows the rules then they should leave it open,” tourist Robert Lugo said.

Russ Owen, the mayor of New Smyrna Beach, sent an email to Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley asking the county to put restrictions on the beach in New Smyrna.

In the email, Owen asked the county to “take immediate action to partially close the county beaches in New Smyrna to vehicle traffic and non active beach goers.”

But Kelley said no.

Kelley said the best thing the city could do to limit congestion on the beach is to restrict access in its public parking lots.

Signs have been installed along the coast reminding groups to set up at least 6 feet apart in the sand.

The county is also using drones and 4-wheelers to monitor the crowds and make sure people space out.

There have been more than 2,100 COVID-19 cases in Volusia County as of Tuesday and the median age of those testing positive in the last few days is in the 30s.

New Smyrna Beach police posted an update Friday that local beaches had already reached capacity.

The Department of Health said more than half of the county’s cases came in the past two weeks.

Step Up Volusia is the countywide campaign encouraging people to do three basic things to stop the spread of COVID-19: washing up, backing up (or social distancing) and masking up.

So far, only the city of Daytona Beach has made wearing a mask a requirement.

County leaders decided against mandating masks in public, just encouraging it instead.

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