CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Clearwater beach is best known for its sugary sand and crystal clear waters, but this weekend no one will be able to enjoy it.
Saturday is the first full day of beach closures for all of Pinellas County due to coronavirus concerns.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Clearwater Chief Daniel Slaughter addressed the media at noon Saturday with an update on the beach closures from Clearwater Beach.
According to Gualtieri, the public has been properly complying with the closures.
Local government is doing everything they can to keep people away. The county is putting up barricades in parking lots and boarding up boardwalks and piers to close off access. They also have many signs leading up to the beach telling people to turn back, beaches are closed due to COVID-19.
County leaders made the difficult decision after images showing crowded Florida beaches went viral. Many were upset saying Floridians weren’t taking the threat seriously.
Beach closures have varied county by county. Tampa shut their beaches down Wednesday, Manatee County yesterday and Friday at 11:59 was the start of the Pinellas County beach shut down.
These county closures don’t apply to private beaches, where people are still asked to adhere to CDC guidelines and stay 6 feet apart. “It would be nice if they would do the same thing in the entire state,” said visitor Alaina Peebles. “It is disappointing [that the beaches are shut down] but I do think people need to take it seriously.
For now the closure lasts until Monday, April 6th but it could last longer. Stay with 8 on your side for the latest on this developing situation.