Flagler County government officials are under pressure to at least partially reopen the beaches on the Volusia model, where walking, swimming and surfing is allowed, but they cite several reasons why that would be ill-advised for a few weeks yet.
Dorothy Strickland, 70, died Wednesday afternoon of Coronavirus at Daytona Beach’s Halifax hospital after she had been told she didn’t meet testing criteria in Flagler County. Her last two weeks were an ordeal.
A few people were defying the coronavirus-inspired order to stay off Flagler’s beaches in the mistaken belief that their were on their own private property, but on the whole people were complying well.
Tuesday was proving to be a day of mixed signals, with resilience and fortitude competing with challenges and more dispiriting numbers as various segments of society were rapidly adapting to life under different degrees of restrictions and still often unclear expectations.
A 45-year-old Flagler Beach police officer has tested positive for Covid-19. In an unrelated development, Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom fell ill and has been in self-isolation at his home since this morning. The police department is monitoring itself but is not in isolation.
Flagler Beach and Flagler County are closing their beaches to the public starting at 6 a.m. Monday, joining a growing list of coastal communities and counties, in Florida and elsewhere, doing likewise in an increasingly strict response to the coronavirus.
The chairman of the Flagler Beach City Commission, the police chief and the parks and recreations director all cited bogus and debunked claims about either saltwater or sunshine’s supposedly beneficial effects against the coronavirus.
By keeping the beaches open, Flagler and Flagler Beach officials are wanting it both ways. They’re sending contradictory messages and enabling irresponsibility. They’re issuing visas to the virus.
The U.S. Postal Service refuses to deliver mail to houses along Oak Place in Flagler Beach even though FedEx, UPS and other delivery services do so, and the street, though dirt, is no different than innumerable such streets in the county.
Flagler County government is looking for permission from almost 150 property owners along the shore in Flagler Beach to use their beachside properties over the next few months–and in perpetuity–to save the beach in what one official describes as the single-largest public works project ever conducted in Flagler