What You Need to Know Before Visiting South Walton
When traveling to Walton County, plan to take enhanced precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes:
Plan ahead for your visit!
- Bring supplies that may not be available due to limited infrastructure in Walton County, such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and plan to use them.
- Bring facemasks for you and your family to use when interacting in public spaces (some businesses may require masks for entry).
- Plan to purchase supplies such as groceries or other essential items before arriving in the destination, as local shortages are possible.
- Please understand that many restaurants or accommodations may not be operating at full capacity, either due to government regulation or staffing shortages. This may mean meals must be ordered to-go, or restaurant seating is not readily available.
Stay medically safe!
- Check to make sure that your home state does not have a stay at home order prohibiting unnecessary travel.
- Always practice safe social distancing, as recommended by the CDC.
- Follow the CDC’s best practices to stop the spread of germs: How to stop the spread of germs
- If you or your family are sick, please postpone your vacation until you are well. If you or any member of your group begins to feel sick, return home immediately to shelter in place or seek medical attention. Hospital infrastructure is limited in Walton County. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please do not leave your home until you have had 2 negative tests performed at least 24 hours apart and have been cleared by your local medical practitioner and health department to travel.
- If you or anyone in your party has been ill with fever, chills, flu-like muscle aches, or loss of taste or smell in the past two weeks, please do not travel until you have been evaluated for COVID 19 in your local area and are cleared for travel, have NO symptoms, and it has been at least 7 days since any symptoms began.
SWFD Beach Safety Division
- Please be courteous in your social distancing when interacting with SWFD Beach Safety lifeguards. Maintain 6 or more feet of separation when interacting with them or any other person outside your group.
- Be aware of temporary government regulations in place that affect business operation:
Walton County Board of County Commissioners have instituted the following regulations:
- By adoption of Resolution 2020-42 on May 12, Beach vending is now permitted with the restrictions that vendors place their equipment a minimum of six feet apart, place equipment in a manner that prevents groups of more than 10 from congregating, and requires that all equipment is disenfected between each use.
- The following restrictions are also in place:
- Visitors to the beach must adhere to CDC guidelines of social distancing – no groups of more than 10, and 6 or more feet between groups.
- All normal beach activities will be permitted based on Walton County's Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance.
- The Walton County Sheriff’s Office will handle enforcement with a customer service approach.
- On May 26, the board of county commissioners reinstated beach bonfire permits as permitted by the South Walton Fire District.
- Additionally, they reinstated special event permits as were allowed based on Walton County's Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance.
- The reinstatement of these items will only be permitted for groups of 10 or less, and must adhere to the CDC's guidelines for social distancing.
FL Governor’s regulations
- As of May 19, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved the Walton County Board of County Commissioner's vacation rental re-opening plan. Effective immediately, rentals are now available for bookings. The governor's full Phase 1 Re-Opening Plan can be viewed here.
- As part of that plan, vacation rental companies may not accept reservations from visitors coming from areas identified by Governor DeSantis as high risk for stays during the 45-day time period starting May 19. Currently, those areas deemed high risk are New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Any visitors coming from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required by the governor’s order to self-quarantine for 2-weeks upon arrival (EO 20-82).
- Effective June 5, by order of the governor, the restrictions on travel for Louisiana residents has been lifted.
- By order of the governor, all persons in Florida are encouraged to follow appropriate social distancing and safety protocols issued by the CDC and OSHA.
- Guests occupying vacation rentals must adhere to those restrictions as well, or be subject to established criminal and civil penalties.
- Effective June 5, as part of the Governor's Phase 2 Re-Opening Plan, Florida restaurants can offer full capacity outdoor seating with tables spaced 6 feet apart, and may operate at a maximum capacity of 50% indoors. By order of the governor, restaurants will also be allowed to offer bar seating for guests. The plan also states that bars can re-open, operating at a maximum of 50% capacity indoors, while following appropriate social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
- Effective June 26, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has issued an emergency order banning the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption for businesses that derive more than 50% of gross revenue from sales of alcoholic beverages.