SANTA ROSA COUNTY TOURISM UPDATE
Date: May 22, 2020
Your health and safety is our top priority and the Santa Rosa County Tourism Office is working with public health officials to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and guidelines with regard to COVID-19. We cannot wait to welcome you back to Florida’s most relaxing destination.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not recommended a blanket limit on domestic travel for the general population, Santa Rosa County is taking steps to mitigate the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. Please see the full list below of openings and guidelines with regard to our beaches, parks, restaurants and more.
Below are responses to some frequently asked questions:
- Are beaches open? Yes. All beaches are now open and following normal hours. Between sunrise and sundown, parking is available at ALL public lots and spaces. Visitors may also walk and bike the multi-use path of the island of Navarre Beach. Parking lot opening and closing times differ, please check individual parking lot restrictions for opening and closing times.
- Is the pier open? Yes. The Navarre Beach Pier is open from 5a to 11p daily. Normal pier admission procedures will be in place; daily and annual passes may be purchased.
- Are Blackwater River and Coldwater Creek open?
- Is the Gulf Islands National Seashore Open? Yes (with some parking closures). On Sat., May 16, Gulf Islands National Seashore will initiate Phase Two access, opening: Santa Rosa area, including Highway 399. Opal Beach restrooms at clusters C & D will be open – lifeguards will be on duty at Opal Beach; the Naval Live Oaks Area (no restrooms).
- With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time: Parking lots 33A and 36A along Highway 399 (closed for the season); Parking lots 34A and 34E at the Opal Beach Complex.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore will implement its annual effort to protect nesting shorebirds by lowering speed limits to 25 mph on Hwy. 399, installing radar speed signs and speed humps, and increasing speed limit enforcement patrols.
- Are hotels open? Yes, most Santa Rosa County accommodations are open at this time. Please note, this could change, please reach out directly to individual properties.
- Are vacation rentals available? Yes, with parameters surrounding guests (please review thoroughly). As a supplement to the Full Phase 1 reopening across the state of Florida, Santa Rosa County will implement the following additional measures to enable vacation/short term rental units to begin taking reservations and accepting check-ins the week of May 18th. As part of these measures, vacation rentals reservations and stays will ONLY BE OPEN to residents from those U.S. states with a COVID-19 case rate of less than 500 cases per 100K residents as of May 14, 2020. Those states with cases BEYOND THE LIMIT are listed below. This case rate is based on the CDC COVID data tracker found here: https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html. Reservations from identified COVID-19 hotspots in the United States will be avoided for the next 30-45 days. Please reach out directly to individual property management companies for reservations and questions.
- Short-term Vacation Rentals – List of states that have more than 500 cases per 100k residents (based on CDC tracker). Includes but is not limited to: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Washington, DC, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware
- Are parks open? Yes, most Santa Rosa County parks are open at this time for use adhering to latest health guidelines. Please reach out ahead, to check on hours of operation.
- Are campgrounds open? Most campgrounds are open at this time. Please call ahead to check on availability.
- Are state forests open? Yes, most Florida state forests in Santa Rosa County are open with limited capacity. List of Florida state forests and campground sites that are open with limited capacity: Clear Creek OHV Riding Area, Bear Lake, the Coldwater horse stables, Hurricane Lake and Karick Lake. Krul Recreation Area and Sweetwater Trail remain closed. Please call ahead to check on capacity level.
- Are restaurants open? Some closures: As of May 4, restaurants are permitted to reopen with limited outdoor and indoor seating – adhering to CDC spacing guidelines and State of Florida Phased Opening parameters. A searchable online map of restaurants and other essential businesses that are open and serving the public is available at santarosaready.com/open. Search by location and business type to find restaurants and other open businesses nearby.
- Are face masks mandatory? Wearing face masks is voluntary for Santa Rosa County residents. Residents may consider wearing a mask in locations where physical distancing is more difficult such as grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, etc.
For those traveling to our area, the CDC and Florida Department of Health encourage the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season – frequent washing of hands, use of sanitizing wipes, consulting with a doctor before traveling when sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, etc. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that all CDC social distancing guidelines are followed. We will continue to follow the guidance offered by the CDC, as well as those provided by state and local public health authorities.
The Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office is actively monitoring COVID-19 reports from the State of Florida Governor’s Office, the CDC as well as the FDOH, and will pass pertinent information as it becomes available via this page.
Should you have questions about COVID-19 and your ability to travel, the Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 call center, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1 (866) 779-6121. Questions can also be emailed to COVIDemail@example.com.
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