SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Fourth of July historically is a busy weekend for tourist destinations like 30A and South Walton County, and lifeguards say they are taking extra precautions to keep beach-goers safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

News 13 This Morning learned from South Walton Fire District’s Beach Safety Division about what residents and visitors to the Panhandle’s beaches should be prepared for throughout the weekend.

Beach Safety Director David Vaughan stressed the importance of packing plenty of water and other hydrating drinks or food, applying ample amounts of sunscreen, having current pictures of children to show to first responders in case of an emergency and being aware of surroundings when enjoying the outdoors.

Vaughan also said lifeguards expect yellow flags to fly in South Walton throughout the weekend, but beach-goers should be prepared for weather to change quickly and have a plan for when thunderstorms or rain rolls into the area.

Lifeguards are responding to medical, rescue and other emergency calls, with COVID-19 precautions in place. He stated anyone who needs help from a lifeguard should not be afraid to approach them, but to follow social distancing guidelines with beach safety personnel and others on the beach.

Governor Ron DeSantis’s Phase 2 Reopening Guidelines state gatherings should be comprised of 10 people or less on the beach and provide at least six feet of space between groups.

For updates on surf conditions and what flags are flying in South Walton County, text “FLAG” to 31279.

Learn more from the News 13 This Morning segment above.