Bay County action on beaches
FROM THE BAY COUNTY COMMISSION:
AMENDING EMERGENCY DECLARATION ORDER 20-01 REGARDING THE CLOSURE OF BEACHES DURING THE COVID-19 LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY
WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of Florida issued Executive Order 20-52, declaring that a state of emergency exists throughout the State of Florida due to the spread of COVID-19 in the State and its imminent threat to the health and welfare of Florida citizens;
WHEREAS, the Executive Order, in accordance with Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, authorizes political subdivisions to take whatever prudent action that is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes authorizes political subdivisions to take all necessary action and issue any necessary orders to protect human life; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, by Resolution 3700, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners issued a Declaration of Local State of Emergency regarding the threat of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, the Governor of the State of Florida issued Executive Order 20-68 limiting gatherings on Florida beaches and supporting local beach closures; and
WHEREAS, on March 20, 2020, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners determined that gatherings on Bay County beaches constitutes a threat to public health and safety and enacted Emergency Order 20-01 to temporarily close the beaches in Bay County to the public; and
WHEREAS, on April 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis promulgated Executive Order 20-91, requiring the public to stay home except to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities and included, as an essential activity, "participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming;" and
WHEREAS, congregations of large groups tend to occur on the beach during the middle of day; and
WHEREAS, the restrictions provided by this Emergency Declaration Order 20-03 provide a balance between allowing outdoor recreational opportunities and the need for social distancing in public spaces; and
WHEREAS, for the reasons expressed herein, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners finds that gatherings on the beach in Bay County continue to constitute a threat to the public health and safety and remain likely to lead to the spread of COVID-19, but that limited recreation on the beach as provided herein does not pose that same threat and that the immediate partial re-opening of the beach through this Emergency Declaration Order is in the public interest.
WHEREAS, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners has now determined that opening Bay County beaches to the public for limited hours will allow residents to engage in essential recreational activities, as contemplated the Governor's Emergency Order 20-01, and the Board has determined it is appropriate to amend Emergency Order 20-01.
NOW, THEREFORE, EMERGENCY ORDER 20-01 IS HEREBY AMENDED AS FOLLOWS:
- All beaches, beach accesses, and parking for beach accesses in Bay County, Florida are temporarily closed to the public except for the hours of 6-9 am and 5-8 p.m.
- It shall be unlawful for members of the public to access the beaches in Bay County except for the hours of 6-9 am and 5-8 p.m.
- The public shall limit use of the beach during the open hours to those essential recreational activities authorized by the Governor's Executive Order 20-91. Groups of more than ten people are prohibited, and a minimum of six-foot social distancing shall apply.
- This Order shall become effective Friday, April 24, 2020 at 6 a.m. and shall be in effect for seven (7) days, unless extended by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners.
- A violation of this Emergency Declaration Order shall be punished m accordance with Bay County Code sec. 1-6 ors. 252.50, F.S., as appropriate.
- This order amends Emergency Order 20-01. Except as amended herein, all other provisions of Emergency Order 20-01 shall remain in effect.
If any provision of this Order is invalidated by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of the Order, which shall continue to have the full force and effect of law.
Done and ordered this 21st day of April, 2020.
This items will be discussed by the Panama City Beach City Council on Thursday, April 23. The City Council meets at 9 a.m.