South Walton expecting thousands of visitors for Fourth of July weekend

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 8:40 PM CDT
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - Visit South Walton officials said they’re expecting a five percent increase in occupancy compared to last July 4th, and that’s after the amount of available rooms already went up by seven percent.

As a major holiday weekend approaches, people in South Walton are getting ready for thousands of visitors.

Even amid coronavirus concerns, Fourth of July will still bring a lot more people to the county. And short term rental property owners are getting ready.

“We’re going to do all we can to clean and sanitize the units and have them as safe as possible for the guests to come in,” said Jeanne Dailey of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties.

They say they're encouraging all of their guests to be mindful of others.

"Guests have to take their own self-precautions and social distance and practice good safety," said Dailey.

The South Walton fire district is also preparing for more visitors.

“Practice social distancing, if you’re in groups, try to keep the group size down, respect each other’s distance,” said David Vaughn, beach safety director for South Walton Fire District.

They say they need people to not only social distance, but also leave room for emergency services on the beach.

“You’ll see our crews add a mask to patients so they don’t spread the virus,” said Tim Orenic, EMS chief for South Walton Fire District.

“Tents have become a problem in fighting for turf, because they cover a large area, that is limited to the upper one-third of the beach, and we also need a 15 foot corridor so we can move and traverse across the beach when we do get those inevitable emergency medical calls,” said Vaughn.

Walton County officials say they’re following the Governor’s guidelines and not having any events that allow for more than 50 people.

The South Walton Fire District also wants to remind people to pay attention to the beach warning flags this weekend.

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