Brevard County’s Reluctant to Issue Stay at Home Order for COVID-19

Brevard County and COVID19In contrast to many other Central Florida counties, residents of Brevard County have not been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent reports have surfaced of spring breakers and vacationers on Florida’s Space Coast ignoring federal guidelines to socially distance themselves to avoid the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. 

In response to these growing beach crowds, Brevard County announced beaches in all 16 municipalities would start to follow more restricted hours of operation. They followed that announcement, however, with the decision to quickly retract the first order. Despite a growing number of counties in Florida and municipalities across the nation ordering residents to stay home, Brevard County officials have not yet ordered its 600,000 residents to do the same. There are an estimated 31 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Brevard County.

What Restrictions Did Brevard County Order?

County leaders announced on Thursday, March 26, that all beaches would abide by new hours of operation, with closures on the weekends. Beginning Friday, March 27, all beaches were to close during the weekends, and remain open from 11 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Brevard County contains some of the largest and most popular beaches in Central Florida, including: 

  • Cocoa Beach
  • Melbourne Beach
  • Satellite Beach
  • Indian Harbour Beach 

The following day, Brevard County issued another statement retracting its original order that beaches will remain open for the time being. The parking lots, however, will be closed so that no tourists or spring breakers can use the beach. Instead, the beaches are intended for locals only. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey told the local media that shutting down and re-opening their shores again was aimed at reducing the number of beachgoers congregating together. According to the sheriff, weekend beach crowds were reduced because of this announcement. 

Brevard Public School closures remain in effect until May 4. This decision followed recommendations from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health.

What Restrictions are Currently in Effect for Brevard County?

Brevard County has not issued an order at this time for residents to stay home. Sheriff Ivey noted that he didn’t want to declare a mandatory stay-at-home order because he wanted to protect the rights of Brevard’s citizens. He added that everyone has a responsibility to follow social distancing guidelines, avoid mass gatherings, and to stay home if they’re at high risk of contracting the virus. “If everyone does what they’re supposed to do, we don’t have to have a stay-at-home order,” Ivey said. 

While Brevard County has not issued any orders for residents to stay home, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency in Florida until the tentative date of May 8. This date can be lifted or extended at any time by the governor. That, in effect, gives local governments more power to move forward based on their residents’ needs. Gov. DeSantis also included in his order the mandatory closing of all restaurants, gyms, and establishments that sell alcohol. 

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday, March 29, that Americans must continue to follow social distancing guidelines for a longer time than what was initially announced. The original deadline of March 30 has been extended until April 30.

What Does That Mean for Brevard County Residents?

Currently, Brevard County has the lowest number of positive Coronavirus cases in Central Florida, with a current total of 31 confirmed cases as of Monday, March 30. One of those cases is a one-year-old child. Orange County leads with the highest number of positive testings for COVID-29 at 279. Statewide, Florida is looking at more than 5,000 positive cases.

Here are the restrictions and guidelines for Brevard residents to abide by:

  • Only locals and county residents may go to county beaches
  • Parking lots at all county beaches are closed
  • Schools will remain closed until May 4
  • All bars, gyms, and restaurants are closed until May 8
  • Wash your hands often and don’t touch your face
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Avoid crowds and socially distance yourself 6 feet from others

To prevent the rise of positive COVID-19 cases, Brevard County residents must be vigilant about abiding by the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control to wash your hands, avoid close contact with others, and stay home if you’re sick.

Turn to The Lawman for Legal Aid in Brevard County

No matter if you’re facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge in Brevard County, a criminal charge stays on your record and can negatively impact your life in more ways than one. Be sure that you have a criminal defense attorney on your side with experience and knowledge to fight for your best chance possible for freedom.

The Umansky Law Firm’s team of criminal defense attorneys in Brevard County can provide you the legal representation necessary to have charges lessened or dismissed. No matter how minor or severe your charges are, the Umansky team can help. For help answering your questions surrounding your case, call our team for a free consultation anytime at (407) 228-3838 or complete an online contact form.