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DeSantis announces limited reopening of recreational trails and beaches

By Staff | May 1, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that, beginning Monday Florida State Parks will reopen access to trails, and some day use areas, including some beach access with limited facilities.

Visitors will be asked to practice proper social distancing and to limit group size to 10 or less and to stay six feet apart.

During this early phase of re-opening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities, officials said.

At Lovers Key State Park, only the boat ramps will reopen. At Cayo Costa Stae Park, only the beachside boat access will reopen.

Phase one includes approximately 80 parks and trails throughout Florida. Portions of these parks and trails have been identified that can be reopened for day use with limited risk to visitors and staff.

“I applaud the Re-Open Florida Task Force on their hard work to inform a safe, smart and step-by-step approach to re-opening Florida,” said DeSantis in a prepared statement issued Friday afternoon. “Recreational activity provides important physical and mental health benefits, particularly during these uncertain times. This Phase One plan will allow for the thoughtful, measured re-opening of some of our state’s incredible natural resources for public recreation.”

“Florida State Parks and Resilience and Coastal Protection managed areas offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein in the release. “We are excited to be welcoming visitors back and appreciate the cooperation of the public as we implement measures that will allow access while protecting both our staff and the public we serve.”

The selected reopened state parks will have limited facilities. Reopened beach areas allow visitors access to active recreation only. This includes walking, jogging, swimming and fishing. No sunbathing, chairs, canopies or coolers are allowed in beach areas at this time.

Reopened parks will resume normal operation hours of 8 a.m. to sunset, with the exception of beach areas. Access to beach areas will have reduced daily hours that may vary locally along with reductions in visitor capacity to ensure social distancing. Visitors should check the Department’s website at www.floridastateparks.org for the latest information.

Compliance with social distancing requirements and approved activities will be enforced and failure to comply with proper social distancing or approved activities may result in law enforcement action or park closure.

For a complete list of open parks and available amenities, visit www.floridastateparks.org .

Source: Office of the Governor