COVID-19 Travel Updates

Seacrest Beach Homeowners' Association

Last Update: July 1, 2020

Get the latest “COVID-19 Travel Updates” from the Walton County Tourist Council’s web site which is available from the following web address:

https://www.visitsouthwalton.com/covid-19-travel-updates/

Short-Term Vacation Rentals Resume

On Friday, May 15th Governor Ron DeSantis enacted Executive Order 20-123 which provided Counties with a path they can follow to safely resume operation of short term vacation rentals. Over the weekend, both Bay and Walton Counties drafted safety plans using guidance from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and on Tuesday, May 19th Walton County published a press release indicating the plan received by the DBPR Secretary had been approved by Governor DeSantis. The Walton County Board of County Commissioners communicated that short term vacation rental operations could resume as of Tuesday the 19th.

In addition to providing a pathway to lifting the ban on short term vacation rentals, the Governor’s Executive Order also allowed dining establishments to offer table service inside their restaurants at up to fifty percent (50%) of their facility’s total dining capacity. Retail establishments, gyms and fitness centers can operate at fifty percent (50%) of their occupancy.  And as of June 3rd, Executive Order 20-139 allows bars, movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades are allowed to also open so long as they too limit occupancy to 50% capacity. It should be noted that for the purposes of occupancy calculations, a businesses employees do not count.  It is expected that all commercial entities will abide by social distancing as well as other CDC and OSHA safety guidelines in effect during the pandemic.

It should be noted that part of Walton County’s guidelines prohibit leasing a short term vacation rental home to anyone coming from an area of high community spread which has been identified under Executive Orders 20-82 and 20-86. The prohibition is in effect for forty-five (45) days beginning on Monday, May 18th. At present, this prohibition impacts travelers coming from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York).  The Governor’s Executive Order 20-139 removes the requirement for people coming from the State of Louisana to self-isolate for a period of fourteen days.

Social Distancing at the Beach

The private beach our community shares with The Alexander, The Inn at Seacrest Beach, The Lofts at Seacrest Beach, Sunset Beach, Tree Tops, and The Village of South Walton Beach can get crowded during the busy vacation season. Under “Section 2. Responsible Individual Activity” of the Governor’s Executive Order 20-139, “[a]ll persons in Florida are encouraged to follow appropriate social distancing and safety protocols issued by the CDC and OSHA.” Our beach vendor, La Dolce Vita, is spacing out the chairs they setup on the managed side of the beach. People on the unmanaged side of the beach are being encouraged to act responsibly.

If you feel the private beach is too crowded, then we would encourage you to consider use of the public beaches located near our community, including Inlet Beach, Camp Helen State Park, and Deer Lake State Park. These are excellent alternatives.

Inlet Beach Regional Access (1.2 miles from Seacrest)

Inlet Beach Regional Beach Access has parking, restrooms, and lifeguards during peak season. Located at the end of South Orange Street about 200 yards south of US Hwy 98. Inlet Beach Regional is the largest county access and features three dune walkovers and 117 parking spaces. A half-mile walk to the east is Camp Helen State Park and Lake Powell.

The address of the Inlet Beach Regional access is: 438 South Orange Street, Inlet Beach, FL 32461.

Camp Helen State Park (1.9 miles from Seacrest)

Camp Helen is a place where visitors can explore an environment rich in natural and cultural resources. The park is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and by Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in Florida. This 180-acre park is for day use only. Activities include swimming, beachcombing, nature study, hiking and both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Prehistoric middens and mounds indicate that humans inhabited the area more than 4,000 years ago. From 1945 until 1987 Camp Helen was a company resort for the employees of an Alabama textile mill, known as Avondale Mills. Some of those buildings have now been restored.

The street address of the entrance for Camp Helen State Park is 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL 32413.

Deer Lake State Park (4.4 miles from Seacrest)

This park shares its name with the coastal dune lake within its boundaries. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare worldwide and in the United States they occur only along the Gulf Coast. Southern magnolias, golden asters, woody goldenrod and scrub oaks can be seen in this coastal dune habitat. Rare plants such as Gulf coast lupine, spoonflower, pitcher plants and Curtiss’ sand grass-one of the largest populations found in Florida, are found in the park. Visitors may see splashes of color from summer wildflowers or some of the many species of resident or migratory birds and butterflies. A boardwalk across the dunes offers easy access to the beach where visitors can picnic, swim and fish. It also offers a spectacular view of the dune ecosystem, one of 11 natural communities found in the park.

The street address of the entrance for Deer Lake State Park is 6350 East County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459.

Seacrest Beach Café

The Seacrest Beach Café has resumed operations and we have setup a queuing system to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. Marks have been placed at six foot intervals starting on the handicap access ramp leading down to the Café. This allows guests to safely queue up and get their turn at the service window to place their order.