Florida beachgoers left some 13,000 pounds of litter over the weekend of May 1 after lockdown was lifted along the coast near Orlando.
Cocoa Beach, which reopened on April 21 after the lockdown that was imposed by Brevard County due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the site of a massive cleanup, prompting local officials to vow a crackdown on litterbugs.
Those who are caught littering on Cocoa Beach will now be subject to a $250 fine, the city told Spectrum News over the weekend.
‘As restrictions are becoming more relaxed during this pandemic, the City of Cocoa Beach is beginning to see an influx of day-trippers to our beaches, along with piles of unlawfully discarded trash in their wake,’ Cocoa Beach Police Department wrote in a notice that was posted on Friday.
Beachgoers are seen on Cocoa Beach in central Florida on Saturday
In the first weekend of the month, there were some 13,000 pounds of litter that was cleaned up from Cocoa Beach
The local police department put out a statement over the weekend vowing to crack down on litterbugs by making offenders pay a $250 fine
‘This will not be tolerated.’
The department says that its officers must first witness a littering offense before issuing a citation.
The public is encouraged to report littering by calling the police department at (321)868-3251.
‘Our community works very hard to be stewards of environmental sustainability,’ said Police Chief Scott Rosenfeld.
‘If I need to reallocate critical resources during our peak season to combat litterers, we are no longer asking our visitors to comply with our litter laws, we expect it, and there will be consequences for offenders.’
Keep Brevard Beautiful, a volunteer organization that arranges trash pickups around the county, said that the recent littering has far surpassed that which was seen before the lockdown went into effect.
Over the first weekend of May, KBB volunteers picked up a total of nearly 300 bags filled with trash.
Volunteers said they picked up more than five times as much trash over the course of the first weekend of the month than they have in other weekends from previous years
Cocoa Beach was reopened by Brevard County on April 21 after it was partially restricted due to the coronavirus lockdown
This April 23 file photo shows beachgoers keeping their distance on Cocoa Beach
When access to the beach was restricted during the coronavirus lockdown, volunteers were picking up an average of fewer than 10 bags per day, according to USA TODAY.
‘Normally there is an uptick but what we’ve seen this past weekend is way above normal,’ KBB Deputy Director Bryan Bobbitt said. “It’s equivalent to Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend.”
‘People need to understand if they leave trash on the ground a bird, fish or sea turtle could be killed by it.
‘It’s not just a blight issue it’s an environmental issue all around.’
He added: ‘We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the beaches but pick up after yourself.’
Thousands flock to Florida beaches and party on boats while businesses prepare to reopen after the state recorded its deadliest week since the start of the pandemic
Floridians kicked off a weekend of partying at sea as the Sunshine State records its deadliest week on record after Gov Ron DeSantis gave the order to start phase one of the reopening process.
Dozens of boats were spotted on a sandbar near John’s Pass as thousands of people flocked to area beaches during the first weekend public beaches reopened after they were closed a few weeks ago in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Most beach goers observed social distancing under the watchful eye of Pinellas County Sheriff deputies who were patrolling Madeira Beach educating citizens of the rules.
On Sunday, people were seen dancing, drinking and sharing a hookah on the deck of one yacht in Biscayne Bay in Miami. Dozens more were seen waiting in a massive line near a marina in Miami, which is one of three epicenters of the virus in the state.
At least 40,596 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state as of Sunday and at least 1,735 people have died.
Since the state began to reopen on May 4, Florida has seen 336 deaths over the six days – an average of 56 new deaths every day.
Dozens of boats were spotted on a sandbar near John’s Pass as thousands of people flocked to area beaches during the first weekend public beaches reopened after they were closed a few weeks ago in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19
People were seen swimming and kayaking at the sandbar near John’s Pass on Saturday
Most beach goers observed social distancing under the watchful eye of Pinellas County Sheriff deputies who were patrolling the beach educating citizens of the social distancing rules
Thousands of people soaked up the sun during family visits to Madeira Beach on Saturday
On Sunday, Florida reported that about 40,596 coronavirus cases have been confirmed since the beginning of March and at least 1,721 people have died. Families are seen walking along Madeira Beach on Saturday
Families are seen hanging out at the beach on Saturday. In other parts of Florida, one beach was forced to close because officials said visitors were not practicing social distancing and could have contributed to the spread of the virus
Since the state began to reopen on May 4, Florida has seen an average of 56 new deaths every day. Two couples are seen hanging out at Madeira Beach on Saturday
Florida has recorded at least 1,721 deaths (depicted above) as of Sunday night
In other parts of Florida, one beach was forced to close because officials said visitors were not practicing social distancing and could have contributed to the spread of the virus.
Officials in Naples on Florida’s southwest coast said that the crowds on Saturday were packed too tightly together, so they decided to close beaches until a city council meeting can be held Monday to discuss solutions.
Councilman Gary Price went to the beach Saturday after learning about the crowds and took photos of people not obeying rules that require groups to remain apart.
‘It’s pretty sad,’ he told the Naples Daily News.
‘It’s such a popular place. We’ll figure it out. We are doing this to keep people safe. We are erring on the side of caution.’
Several residents told the newspaper that the beach should remain open, but limited to local residents.
‘Not fair that Collier County residents cannot enjoy their beaches,’ Lauren Cibelli told the paper on Facebook. ‘I was at the beach during the week, and everyone practiced social distancing. This is not right that residents suffer.’
Beaches in most of the state reopened last week except in South Florida, but some beaches reopened back in April.
Hair and nail salons along with barber shops began reopening in much of Florida on Monday as the state took another baby step out of the economic abyss caused by the new coronavirus shutdown while it works toward clearing a backlog of unemployment claims that haven’t been paid.
Governor Ron DeSantis allowed such businesses to reopen with tight regulations except in hard-hit Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the state’s two most-populous.
That comes almost six weeks after they were ordered closed statewide – some counties closed them earlier – and one week after sit-down dining was allowed in most of the state’s restaurants, also with heavy restrictions such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent of normal.
DeSantis himself has expressed eagerness to get a haircut, saying last week he hasn’t had one since February.
The state has ordered that barbers, cosmetologists and manicurists wear masks when seeing customers, that they require appointments so that few people will be waiting inside and that they spend 15 minutes between each customer sanitizing the work station.
Customers were already waiting when J. Henry opened his barber shop early Monday in downtown Orlando.
Folding chairs lined the outside front window for waiting customers so they wouldn’t be inside and there was a sign-in notebook on a stand next to the door to fulfill the appointment requirement.
Last week, Henry made the announcement on behalf of DeSantis on social media that hair salons and barber shops in Florida could reopen.
‘It feels great to be back,’ said Henry, wearing rubber gloves and a blue surgical mask that kept slipping down his nose.
In the shop, three barbers were spaced out among the seven barber chairs.
Each barber had Lysol spray, hand sanitizer and a bottle of Clorox bleach at their stations.
They wore rubber gloves and masks as they trimmed beards and hairlines.
Customers wore white disposable ‘drapes’ as they sat in the barber chairs.
Buying the extra safety items is going to make his costs go up, but Henry said it was worth it to make customers feel comfortable.
‘Things are going to change, not because we want them to, but because that’s just where we are in the process,’ Henry said.
‘We’ll be OK. Everyone has a part to play.’
On Sunday, Florida reported that at least 40,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed since the beginning of March
Fearless sun seekers didn’t waste any time adjusting to the ‘new normal’ just a week after Florida initiated phase one of its reopening process
People were seen dancing, drinking and sharing a hookah on the deck of one yacht in Biscayne Bay in Miami amid the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday
The group also appeared to be drinking as they enjoyed their boat ride on Saturday
Miami-Dade County, where Biscayne Bay is located, will start reopening businesses during the week of Memorial Day
Regular customers at the Fringe Salon in downtown Naples may have a hard time getting in. The salon is already booked for the week.
With the new social distancing guidelines, the salon had to reduce the number of stations from seven to two.
‘It’s just pure chaos. Everybody’s excited about getting their haircut,’ said owner Trish Boettcher.
‘People are just randomly calling who are not our regular clients.’
‘Everybody’s sitting outside wearing masks,’ she said.
Meanwhile, DeSantis told a press conference Monday in Fort Myers that the state made large strides over the weekend in lessening the backlog of unemployment claims that haven’t been processed and paid, a major problem that has plagued his administration over the last two months.
He said more than 166,000 new claimants were approved over the weekend and paid more than $400million.
Overall, the state says it has paid more than 650,000 unemployed workers $1.5billion.
‘Compared to where we were six weeks ago when the system was basically dead, I think that is the type of progress I want to see,’ DeSantis said.