Inweekly asked County Attorney Alison Rogers for the final draft to the Board of County Commissioners executive order to reopen our public beaches.
The order does carry a fine of $500 or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed 60 days or both for violating any provision of the order. The violation is a misdemeanor.
EMERGENCY ORDER EO 20-_____
WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-51 directing the State Health Officer and Surgeon General to declare a Public Health Emergency due to the discovery of COVID-19 in the State of Florida; and
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for the State of Florida; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency for the United States of America effective March 1, 2020; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald J. Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidance
advising individuals to adopt social distancing measures and avoid gatherings of more than ten people; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-68 suspending the operation of bars, pubs and nightclubs, directing parties accessing public beaches to limit gatherings to no more than ten people and practice social distancing, and directing restaurant establishments to limit occupancy to 50%, with a minimum of 6-feet between patrons and parties of no more than ten; and
WHEREAS, on March 20, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-71 suspending on-premises food consumption in restaurants and food establishments and ordering the closure of all gymnasiums and fitness centers; and
WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-83, directing the State Surgeon General and State Health Office to issue a public health advisory against all social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 252.38, Florida Statutes, political subdivisions are authorized to declare and enact a local state of emergency for a period of up to seven days, thereby waiving the procedures and formalities otherwise required by law; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 252.38, Florida Statutes, and Section 37-35, Escambia County Code, the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners declared a state of local emergency for Escambia County effective as of 2:00 p.m. on March 16, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners extended the state of local emergency for Escambia County by Resolutions R2020-25, R2020-26, R2020-35, R2020-36, R2020-37, R2020-38 and R2020-39 until 1:59 p.m. on May 11, 2020; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 poses a health risk to the residents of Escambia County, particularly those who are elderly, immunosuppressed, or otherwise have high-risk medical conditions; and
WHEREAS, minimizing contact is necessary to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection for the residents of Escambia County; and
WHEREAS, the measures implemented herein are narrowly tailored to protect the residents of Escambia County and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community; and
WHEREAS, on March 20, 2020, by Board action during a Special Meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the Board approved Emergency Order 20-04 that closed public beaches, beach accessways and beachfront parks in unincorporated Escambia County; and
WHEREAS, on April 28, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners met in a special meeting to determine the issue of beach closures.
NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 37, Escambia County Code, the Board of County Commissioners hereby declares the following regarding Escambia County beaches, as set forth below:
1. The foregoing recitals are true and are incorporated herein.
2. Emergency Order 20-04 expires effective thirty (30) minutes before sunrise on Friday, May 1, 2020, and its terms are superseded by this Emergency Order.
3. Public beaches, public beach accessways and public beach parks in unincorporated Escambia County shall be open to the public thirty (30) minutes before sunrise and close thirty (30) minutes after sunset each day. These areas are closed to public access and use from thirty (30) minutes after sunset until thirty (30) minutes before sunrise.
4. At all times, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines shall be followed. Groups of people shall be limited to ten (10) people or fewer, with a minimum of six (6) feet of distancing between groups and between individuals not with the same immediate group.
5. The area beneath the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier, as delineated by Escambia County lifeguard staff, shall be closed to the public at all times, except for areas specified for pedestrian access which are for moving foot traffic only.
6. Public pavilions shall be closed to the public.
7. This Order shall not apply to parks, beaches, and recreational facilities under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, or the federal government.
8. The Board of County Commissioners requests that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the National Park Service (NPS) reopen beaches and beach park areas under state and federal jurisdiction.
9. In accordance with Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 37, Article II, Sec. 37-42, Escambia County Code, any person violating any provision of this Order shall be prosecuted in the same manner as misdemeanors are prosecuted and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed 60 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
10. This Order shall be effective as of 12:00 p.m. (CDT) on April 28, 2020, until further action by the Board of County Commissioners.
Adopted this ______ day of April, 2020.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
ATTEST: PAM CHILDERS Steven Barry, Chairman
Clerk of the Circuit Court