Leaders in Vero Beach approved an emergency order for people to wear face masks in city facilities, and ordered the city beaches and parks on the 4th of July holiday weekend to be restricted to residents only
The decision came with limited debate at a special meeting on Tuesday morning.
The restrictions for the beaches start July 3 and run through July 5.
“The more we close down the more we push people to the same place,” said council member Robbie Brackett, who shared his opposition to the mandate. “We made that argument before we closed all the businesses down and we pushed everybody to Walmart and Publix.”
City manager Monte Falls said he heard leaders in St. Lucie County and Martin County planned to close their beaches for the holiday weekend.
The beaches in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are closed for the holiday weekend. Mayor Tony Young said he didn’t want Vero Beach to become the first stop for 4th of July holiday beach fun.
“I think it would be negligent on our part if we became the Mecca for everybody to come on the 4th of July to our beaches,” said Young. “It’s not a decision the residents would welcome.”
The special meeting comes as coronavirus numbers climb in Florida.
Last week, leaders approved a rule that said employees of businesses in unincorporated parts of the county must wear face masks.
Indian River County has a total of 686 cases of coronavirus between residents and non-residents, and 16 deaths. 54 residents, or 8 percent of all cases, required hospitalization. The median age of coronavirus patients is 39, just under the state average of 40.
The 15-24 age group has the most cases in the county with 127, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health.
Face mask mandates have sparked heated debate from Palm Beach County to St. Lucie County.