Posted On: May 8, 2020
Just in time for the popular Mother’s Day weekend, vehicle access for beach parking will resume at multiple sections of Volusia County’s beaches on Saturday.
A total of 14 vehicle access ramps will be opening to facilitate a limited amount of parking on the beach, the next step in the phased lifting of restrictions that were put in place to help slow people-to-people spread of the coronavirus. To ensure that social distancing is maintained, all vehicles will be required to park in front of a post. Bathroom facilities also will reopen Saturday morning.
“I’m really excited to be able to announce these additional reopening measures,” County Chair Ed Kelley said on Friday as he laid out the changes during an afternoon news briefing at the Volusia County Emergency Operations Center in Daytona Beach. “We’ve been waiting for this.”
The vehicle ramps that will open beginning Saturday are clustered in seven sections of the beach from Ormond Beach south to New Smyrna Beach. With social distancing guidelines still in effect, beach parking in the seven sections will be limited to one vehicle for every post on the beach. Over the past 10 days, the county has been installing posts in between habitat conservations posts along most of the beach that will be open Saturday. Posts are located at least 25 feet apart in order to prevent overcrowding. Only one vehicle may park at each post. Violators could receive a ticket or have their vehicle towed at the owner’s expense. Driving will be restricted outside of the parking zones. Social distancing guidelines – a maximum of six people per group, with at least 10 feet of distance between groups of beachgoers – will continue to be enforced. Where necessary, the parking capacity at off-beach lots will be limited in order to maintain conditions on the beach that are conducive to social distancing.
Beach safety personnel responsible for enforcing the parking rules are hoping for the public’s understanding and voluntary compliance during what traditionally is a very busy holiday weekend on the beaches.
“It is very important for people to realize the opening of the ramps is for beach parking and not for beach driving,” said Ray Manchester, Volusia County’s director of beach safety. “Our beach safety team will be enforcing these parking measures and addressing anyone who does not abide by these rules. As always, we aim to educate violators and expect that everyone will comply.”
Officials also will be keeping a close eye on the weekend weather and tides, which could impact vehicle access and parking on the beach. High tide will occur at 10:15 am on Saturday and 11:06 am on Sunday. With the potential for some larger-than-usual surf conditions this weekend, the drivable portions of the beach could be under water during high tide and necessitate temporary closures to vehicles parking on the beach.
From north to south, the vehicle beach ramps that will open beginning Saturday are as follows:
Silver Beach Avenue
Florida Shores Boulevard
El Portal Street
In addition to the 14 beach ramps opening for all vehicle access, the ramp at Williams Avenue in Daytona Beach will remain open for ADA access only. Vehicles must have a handicapped tag or placard to use the Williams Avenue ramp. As always, beachgoers are reminded to swim in front of a staffed lifeguard tower for their safety.
With restrooms and showers opening on the beach and in county-operated coastal and inlet parks, porters will be on hand to clean and disinfect most facilities. However, the public is asked to be respectful of others and help keep these facilities clean.
Annual passes won’t be available for purchase this weekend at the tollbooths. However, for those who purchase a $20 day pass to drive onto the beach, they will have up to 30 days to show their receipt and have the $20 applied to the cost of an annual pass. Annual passes will be available starting Monday. Also Friday, the county announced that current annual pass-holders who purchased their pass prior to March 20 will have 57 days added to their pass to compensate for the days that the beach ramps were closed to vehicles due to the coronavirus outbreak.