FAQs & Updates About COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) for 30A / Walton County, Florida
May 27, 2020
– The Walton County Board of County Commissioners has lifted burn ban in Walton County effective immediately.
– Please remember to follow the burn authorization guidelines provided by the Florida Forest Service. To learn more, click here.
May 19, 2020
– The Walton County Board of County Commissioners held an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the impending matter of lifting of the Short-Term Rental Ban.
Effective immediately, Rental properties in Walton County are now open, with certain restrictions*.
– According to the Governor’s order, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Gulf, Franklin and Bay County can now reopen their vacation rentals. The decision comes as a relief to rental owners and is part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to move Florida to a full Phase 1 recovery response. The list of approved counties can be seen here.
Want to visit the beach this summer? Visit 30Arentals.com!
– *Please be advised that while short-term vacation rentals are now allowed in seven Florida counties along the Panhandle, as per the order of Governor Ron DeSantis, there are certain hot zone states that are not yet permitted to rent. This is a directive from the State of Florida and not Walton County.
– HOT ZONES DEFINED:
Local governments worked overtime last weekend to submit their safety plans for short-term rentals in hopes of restarting the tourism industry in the Panhandle. They all addressed heightened cleaning protocols, as well as restricting tourists from hot-spot areas. Okaloosa identified high-risk areas as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana. Santa Rosa County’s and Escambia County’s plans are more restrictive, only allowing reservations from U.S. states with COVID-19 rates at fewer than 700 cases per 100,000 residents, which adds Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.
– Walton County beaches are open to the public, although there are restrictions in place. Learn more here.
– Florida State Parks campgrounds remain CLOSED through May 20 and cabins remain CLOSED through May 31
– Beginning May 18, Florida restaurants can offer outdoor seating with tables spaced 6 feet apart, and may operate at a maximum capacity of 50% indoors by order of the governor.
– All persons entering Florida from areas with substantial community spread must self-isolate/quarantine for 14 days or the duration of the person’s presence in Florida, whichever is shorter.
– For complete guidelines on travel and general safety, please click HERE.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: May 12, 2020
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners at their meeting today May 12, 2020, made the decision to open vending on the beaches in Walton County. The following stipulations apply:
– All groups should be limited to no more than 10 people and all groups should be spaced six feet from the next.
– All beach equipment should be sanitized between each customer’s use.
– During turtle season, vendors will be allowed access to the beach between 7:30 a.m. or after the morning sea turtle nesting survey has been completed, whichever is earlier, and one hour after sunset.
– All beach equipment should be stored in a box or on a rack overnight. A county-wide burn ban has been ordered until further notice.
– No special events shall be held until further notice.
– All current permit holders will receive a 50% refund and all future permits will be charged at half the normal price.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 29, 2020
– Walton County Board of County Commissioners revised Resolution 20-35. Beach is open under normal conditions as covered by the Walton County Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance. Restriction applies to the following only: All permits for vending on the beach, beach bonfires, special events on the beach shall be suspended. Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply.
– This afternoon, Governor DeSantis announced his plans for the first phase of reopening Florida.
– Included in his announcement was allowing restaurants 25% indoor capacity and six feet between seating outdoors, retail to reopen but also at 25% capacity and he recommended that people wear face coverings in public.
– He did not reopen bars, movie theaters and gyms. The vacation rental ban, which expires tomorrow night at midnight, was not referenced.
– The Short-term Rental Ban has been extended by the Governor with Executive Order 20-112 which takes effect May 4th. For more info, click HERE.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 28, 2020
– We reached out to Walton County Sheriff’s Office for a quote which we are pasting below:
“Most states still have a stay-at-home order in place. Some of which prohibit non-essential travel. Walton County Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide a public safety service to our community by using a customer service approach with reasonableness and kindness. However, we are asking for voluntary compliance as we move forward and continue to adjust to the changes. Use reliable resources to make the best decisions for keeping you and your family safe.” – WCSO
– A per the Walton County Board of Commissioners’ meeting held this morning, as of 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 1, 2020, the beaches within Walton County, Florida, are open to the public with the following strict restrictions:
– As part of the action taken by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners during today’s meeting, members of the public are permitted to bring their chairs, umbrellas and tents to the beach. Regarding tents and umbrellas, the public must adhere to the guidelines as set forth in the County’s current Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance.
– All permits for beach bonfires and special events on the beach shall be suspended and no vending on the beach shall be permitted while this Local State of Emergency remains in effect.
– Individuals on the beach shall limit their activities to walking, jogging, fishing, swimming, paddleboarding, surfing and boating.
– Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) feet social distancing shall apply.
– In addition to the action above, the WCBCC has taken action to open all County parks and the Eagle Springs Golf Course: Groups of more than ten (10) people are prohibited, and a minimum of six (6) foot social distancing shall apply.
At this time, the Governor’s Executive Orders 20-91 (Safer at Home) and 20-103 (Short-Term Rental Ban), continue to be in effect until April 30, 2020. The County will continue to monitor any action taken by the Governor regarding these or other Executive Orders and will release information as it is received.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 23, 2020
On Thursday, April 23, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted to draft language regarding the opening of Walton County’s beaches, and to bring that language for a vote at a BCC meeting on April 28. If approved, the language would allow all Walton County Beaches to be opened on May 1, 2020, with no time restrictions regarding access. The following items must also to be included in the language:
– A ban will continue on all beach vending.
– All CDC social distancing guidelines must still be strictly adhered to.
– Activities must also be accordance with any executive orders from the Governor of Florida.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 21, 2020
– Walton County Beaches are Closed. No Date Set for Re-opening.
– On April 30 or May 1, it is anticipated that Governor Ron DeSantis will take action regarding the “Safe at Home” order and the “Short-term Rental Ban”. Pending action by the Governor, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners believes that it would be prudent to wait until that time, assess any information provided by the Governor, and make any decisions regarding the beach at that time.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 18, 2020
– Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference on April 18, 2020, where he stated that K through 12 schools will continue with distance learning for the duration of the school year. Upon receiving a formal statement from the Florida Department of Education, Superintendent A. Russell Hughes will release an update with more specific information.
– The Seaside Community Development Corp. (SCDC) announced to Seaside Merchants that the Commercial District will remain closed after April 30, 2020. The SCDC also announced that they will work as a community to create milestones to reopen, assuring health and safety remain their priority. The date of reopening remains unclear at this point.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 10, 2020
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-103, which extends Executive Order 20-87, related to vacation rentals, until April 30, 2020. A PDF copy of Executive Order 20-87 can be found here.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 3, 2020
During their Emergency BCC Meeting on April 2, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners voted to amend Emergency Ordinance 2020-08 to now close all Walton County Beaches in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon or remain on any beaches in Walton County. This action will be enforced by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: APRIL 1, 2020
Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a 30-day stay-at-home order which goes into effect Friday, April 3rd at 12:01 am. This order directs everyone to stay at home for any reason other than working at essential jobs or participating in essential activities. For guidance on non-essential versus essential jobs and activities, review the Executive Order here.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 31, 2020
For latest information, visit www.waltoncovid19.org.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 28, 2020
– Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered checkpoints to be installed along Florida’s roads to account for traveling drivers
– All new vacation rentals in Florida have been suspended for the next 14 days
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 27, 2020
– Walton County Closes Morrison Springs and Grady Brown Parks: Effective immediately and based upon updated monitoring info and a recommendation from Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Walton County has closed Morrison Springs and Grady Brown Parks to the general public.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 25, 2020
– All beaches remain closed to the public
– Effective Immediately, on-premise dining is prohibited in restaurants
– All beach vending on Walton County beaches has been suspended
– Walton County public libraries are closed
– Public Works Departments are closed to walk-ins
– All South Walton Fire District (SWFD) offices, including all fire stations, service centers and our fire district headquarters in Santa Rosa Beach, are now closed to the public until further notice in order to preserve critical Fire/EMS services. The public is discouraged from visiting any of the district’s five (5) fire stations unless you have a fire or medical emergency.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 20, 2020
Via Walton County Emergency Management: Executive Order 20-71 – New restrictions regarding Alcohol Sales, Restaurants and Bars and Gyms and Fitness Centers:
– Effective Immediately: Alcohol sales are not limited to the sale of alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises.
– Closure of all gyms and fitness centers in the state of Florida
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 19, 2020
– At the Emergency COVID-19 meeting of Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC) that took place at 9 a.m. this morning (March 19, 2020), the commissioners approved an ordinance unanimously that closes all Walton County beaches to the public for 30 days and can be extended or rescinded at any time since we are under a local state of emergency.
– The action goes into effect immediately, and although owners of private beach still have legal access to their own property, board members are urging them to abide by the spirit of safety and caution they are putting forth county-wide.
– Beach Vendors will not be able to provide any vending services on the public beaches in Walton County. All vendors are required to remove all equipment from the public beach accesses. Vendor equipment storage boxes may remain on public beach accesses temporarily. However, vendors may opt to remove their storage boxes by their own decision.
– Walton County Sheriff’s Office will be charged with enforcement of the ordinance which came following a local state of emergency triggered by COVID-19. Beach Code Enforcement will continue to monitor the current situation and will provide information and updates as soon as they are made available.
– The WaterColor Board of Directors has directed that all community amenities, including Camp WaterColor and the WaterColor Beach Club, be shut down until at least March 31.
– The Rosemary Beach Property Owners Association Board of Directors voted to suspend all beach chair services and close all community pools until Sunday, April 12th. Additionally, Rosemary Beach Racquet Club and Fitness Center will be closing with immediate effect and will remain closed for a minimum of two weeks.
– Alys Beach announced the closure of all amenities including NEAT Bottle Shop & Tasting Room, Caliza Pool & Restaurant, Alys Shoppe, ZUMA Wellness Center, Piper’s Kitchen, Bike Shop, and Beach Service and Recreation until further notice.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 18, 2020
– In order to field basic questions about Walton County’s COVID-19 response, the Walton County Department of Emergency Management has activated its Citizen Information Center Helpline. You may reach the CIC at 850-892-8392.
– If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, you may contact the Walton County Department of Health at 850-401-6453. If you have general questions related to COVID-19 and the virus itself, please contact the State COVID-19 line at 866-779-6121.
– At no time should you call 911. 911 is for immediately life-threatening emergencies only.
– Per Governor Executive Order – Restaurants in Florida will be able to stay open but only be allowed to fill to half capacity and all tables must be at least 6 feet apart. All Florida bars and nightclubs are to close beginning 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17th and must remain closed for 30 days. Cancellation of all BCC and TDC permitted outdoor events and beach activity ordinance special events.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 17, 2020
During the Emergency Walton County Board of County Commissioners (WCBCC) meeting held March 16, 2020, the WCBCC issued a Local State of Emergency (LSE). This LSE will be in place for seven days and will be re-issued on a weekly basis.
Additionally, the following cancellations were announced by local businesses and organizations:
– South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival & Sandestin Wine Festival have been canceled
– The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Hub 30A, WaterColor, Emerald Coast Theatre Company & The Merchants of Rosemary Beach have canceled all upcoming events
– Gulf Place has canceled their Wine Walk (usually held on Thursdays)
– Beginning Friday, camping in Florida State Parks is suspended until May 15
NOTE: The WCBCC did not close Walton County’s beaches.
IMPORTANT UPDATES: MARCH 16, 2020
– Effective 5 p.m. March 16, 2020, Seaside has announced closure of Seaside Commercial District, including dozens of retail stores and services until April 30, 2020. All Spring event programming also stands suspended.
– The 7th Annual 30A Sand Rover Rally, slated for April 17-18, has been postponed until further notice.
– As per Walton County TDC’s Beach Code Enforcement, bonfires (both individual and annual bonfire permits) will be canceled beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through June 1, 2020. All special events will also be canceled through June 1, 2020.
Here are some FAQs in relation to the global Coronavirus outbreak and its impact locally:
1. Are Walton County’s beaches open?
At this time, Walton County beaches are open to the public. However, it is advised to avoid crowds and large gatherings. Should the situation change, we will post updates on this page, so please check back frequently for new developments before making travel plans.
2. Are bars, restaurants and other businesses open in Walton County?
3. Are local events being canceled?
In an attempt to slow the virus, large events and public gatherings are strongly discouraged. Please contact venues prior to attending any events, as many are being canceled or postponed. You can also follow updates about particular events on our event calendar. Please feel free to let us know if you come across any instances of a particular event being canceled.