Volusia County

Vehicles banned from Volusia County beaches amid coronavirus concerns

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Starting Friday and lasting through Sunday, you cannot drive your vehicles on New Smyrna Beach. The restriction begins Saturday for all other beaches in Volusia County.

“It’s kind of disappointing,” said beachgoer Kenall Hess.

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Volusia County made the decision Thursday evening as a crowd-control measure due to the coronavirus.

County officials have not made it clear when they will reverse the decision.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked beachgoers to limit their groups to 10, and stay 6 feet away from other groups.

Nine cases of the virus have been confirmed so far in the county. The cases include seven women and two men, all Volusia County residents. According to the Florida Department of Health, six of those cases were travel-related and three were not.

County officials agreed earlier this week to keep its beaches open as others across the state have closed, including some in Miami and Broward counties, where the highest number of cases have been reported in the state.

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Some said they still plan to get to the beaches Volusia County beaches by parking somewhere along Flagler Avenue. But residents aren’t happy about that.

“That’s for the restaurants. The restaurants have to have the people to survive,” New Smyrna Beach resident Carol Singhofen said. “I understand the people who are concerned, but I do think that the beach is a wide-open space and you can get your space here. But after the beach, where do they go?”

Singhofen said officials should worry about the crowds in other places.

“They go in the mall, they go to the grocery stores. We can’t shop in our grocery stores because there’s so many people in them,” she said.

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Bubba Fryer, a New Smyrna resident, said he thinks “it’s useless.”

“People are going to gather when they want,” he said.

Officials said Thursday that due to those restrictions put in place due to COVID-19, beachgoers should plan to head to the beach early.

“Core areas, especially in Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach, have seen heavy volume and will be limiting access,” Volusia County Emergency Management officials tweeted Thursday.

Some residents say restricting vehicle access does not go far enough to stop the spread of the virus, and are circulating a petition to get the governor to shut down all beaches.

It’s unclear if the ramps will reopen on Monday. Officials said they’ll reevaluate over the weekend and let everyone know.

In Flagler County, there are currently no restrictions at the beach. County officials said they would work to educate people who violate the rules, but could cite them if necessary.

Beachgoers are being asked to gather in groups of 10 or fewer people, and to set up at least 6 feet apart from other groups on the beach.

Channel 9 saw large numbers of groups gathering along the beach Wednesday. You can watch that video below:

WATCH LIVE: Daytona Beach busy despite coronavirus concerns. Volusia Co. leaders announced the beaches will stay open: https://at.wftv.com/2QlAS7J

WATCH LIVE: Daytona Beach busy despite coronavirus concerns | https://at.wftv.com/2QlAS7J

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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