'The beach is my happy place': Volusia County beaches reopen for leisure

You can once again sit or sunbathe on the sand in Volusia County.

“The beach is my happy place, I've missed being here!” said sunbather Lori Labree

Labree said it felt different though.

“People staying away, places closed, the traffic is low. Just the number of people here is a lot less.”

Beaches reopened Saturday for leisure activities, but visitors must follow social distancing guidelines. 

At New Smyrna Beach, blankets and chairs were already on the sand early in the morning. Beach patrol getting ready for big crowds this weekend.

The rules state that people can't gather in groups of any larger than six individuals, and those groups need to stay at least ten feet apart.

“If we can’t enforce these guidelines, these social distancing guidelines, we’re going to have to close the beach again, so please when you come to the beach just stay away from other groups,” Capt. Malphurs said.

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Beach patrol says they're not in the business of splitting up families, but they want people to exercise good judgment. 

“You know what, I'm gonna come out, enjoy it for a moment, then leave to give others an opportunity so the beach doesn't get crowded, is really kind of a beautiful thing,” said visitor Jen Zoe.

Parking is very limited. There's no driving on the beach, and the off-beach parking lots are going to be very limited. 

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If you don't follow those social distance, guidelines fines can range from $50-$500. You can even face jail time.