Most beach restrictions to be lifted Tuesday

PHOTO BY KAILA JONES

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Most restrictions at guarded beaches – except for gathering in large groups – will be lifted Tuesday, county officials said.

All beaches and beach access points in Indian River County, including the town of Indian River Shores and Vero Beach, will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday under the new guideline. Beachgoers can bask in the sunshine, as long as they practice social distancing, Indian River County spokesperson Brian Sullivan said.

“People can go to the beach and lounge. Anything that requires people to gather in large groups, like volleyball, will be prohibited,” Sullivan said, noting that law enforcement will still monitor the shore. “Over the weekend, we observed beachgoers enjoying the beach while supporting social distancing guidelines. We decided it was a good time to lift restrictions we put in place.”

Vero Beach City Manager Monte Falls said he wholeheartedly agrees with the decision to lift most restrictions at the beaches. Falls said there’s plenty of open area for people to lounge at a distance from each other.

Sullivan said people at the beach should stay at least 6 feet apart from each other, except for family members. Groups of more than 10 people will not be allowed.

The only beach that is still closed – Seagrape Trail – is undergoing an ongoing beach replenishment project, Sullivan said.

Officials previously closed county and city beaches March 22 because of coronavirus public health concerns. The beaches reopened April 28, but only for exercise activities, including swimming, kayaking, walking, running, surfing and paddle boarding.

Tuesday, beachgoers can lounge, and are able to bring tents, beach umbrellas, chairs, blankets and coolers. Sullivan said he is not aware of any major issues at the beaches since the reopenings.

Falls said law enforcement will work with lifeguards to educate residents on the beach rules.

“I’m glad the public will be able to use the beach safely,” Falls said.

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