Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida places the highest priority on the health and safety of our residents and visitors. We are committed to consistently providing you with the most up-to-date information on the status of our businesses and attractions as the situation evolves. We will continue to update this page as new information and guidelines become available and work alongside our local leadership, including the Okaloosa County Health Department, to keep all well-informed and safe.
There are currently no travel advisories or curfews in place for Destin-Fort Walton Beach. On Friday, June 5th the state of Florida will enter into Phase II of the Governor’s “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan'' to re-open. In addition to restaurants and retail, bars and entertainment facilities will re-open on Friday, with limited capacities and enhanced cleaning procedures. Vulnerable individuals should continue to avoid close contact with people outside the home, and everyone is advised to continue maximizing physical distance from others.
Okaloosa County and Destin beaches are now open from dawn until dusk. This includes public and private beaches; restrooms; beach accessways; parking areas solely for accessing beaches; county and city beachfront parks; trails; Marler Park; and the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. The Okaloosa area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore has also re-opened as has Henderson Beach State Park’s beach access and parking. The park’s day use areas and camping site remain closed.
Eglin Air Force off-base beaches have also re-opened under the following guidelines, with the exception of the East Pass access point.
As of Tuesday, May 19th, short-term vacation rentals were approved to welcome back guests. They can do so by following safety guidelines in favor of public health and safe vacations.
While vacation rental reservations can be accepted from high-risk areas the County advises against it. Guests from high-risk areas will need to quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. Guests occupying those vacation rentals must adhere to the quarantine restrictions or be subject to established criminal and civil penalties.
Hotels, motels and inns remain open. For specifics on how an individual property may have modified procedures and operations in place we recommend contacting your accommodations directly.
On April 29th the Governor extended an executive order that called for roadside checkpoints on interstates to screen for potential COVID-19 cases coming into the state from Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The checkpoints are installed along I-10 and I-95. Visitors who are traveling from the above areas and are staying in short-term rental are required to isolate for a period of 14 days upon entry to Florida per the Okaloosa County re-opening plan for short-term vacation rentals.
When a traveler arrives, each passenger or responsible family member (if traveling as a family) will be required to complete a traveler form with key information, including each traveler’s contact information and trip details. They will also be given a traveler card, which has contact information and guidance in case the traveler begins exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Failure to complete the form and follow any isolation or quarantine order from DOH are violations of Florida law.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect toll collectors, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) will temporarily not accept cash as a form of payment for tolls including the Mid-Bay Toll Bridge. Tolls will still be required, but they will be collected either via SunPass or toll-by-plate.
Per the governor, all visitors arriving by plane from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), must enter a period of quarantine for 14 days from the time of entry, or for the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.
Yes, restaurants are operating at 50% capacity within their dining rooms and offering outdoor seating with tables spaced six feet apart. As the state enters Phase II of re-opening on Friday, June 5th, bars and bar-seating in restaurants will also re-open at limited capacity. A number of local restaurants are also continuing to offer curbside pickup and delivery services as well.
On Friday, June 5th, bars and bar seating within restaurants will be permitted to re-open. Bars will be operating at 50% capacity indoors, and at full capacity outside with proper social distancing of six feet between tables.
A number of local restaurants have been offering curbside pickup and delivery services and will continue to do so. For a list of area restaurant re-openings, click here.
Local activities and attractions, such as fishing charters, dolphin tours, retail stores, and water sports rental locations are open. For a list of area attractions + activities that are re-opened, click here.
Our Visitor's Centers on Okaloosa Island and at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport are now open to the public. Our visitor specialists can also be reached at 800.322.3319.
We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available, and encourage you to visit/call the following sources regarding travel safety and local updates: