The Pinellas County Commission closed beaches this Friday at midnight to curb the spread of COVID19.
Videos surfaced Monday of Clearwater Beach inundated with crowds along the shore. US citizens accused Florida health officials of allowing the virus to spread, prompting swift action across the state.
The vote was unanimous despite a presentation by Sheriff Bob Gualtieri arguing against the closure.
Commissioners felt delaying the decision could prove catastrophic.
“What I am most concerned about is what we don’t know, there is so much that is unfolding health wise” Commissioner Dave Eggers said. “I want to be on the side of proactively doing something.”
All Pinellas county beaches will close, including Clearwater Beach. Clearwater City Council previously planned to wait until Monday morning, granting beach goers and businesses one last weekend. Their decision is now overruled.
Businesses along the shore can remain open.
“I am not going to bear the responsibility for an epidemic hitting our county,” Commissioner Karen Seel said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an order limiting groups on beaches to 10 people. He feels that tourists are leaving the state, and shutting down beaches was not the answer.
If you’re missing the beach already, then check out our list of 13 beaches you can visit from the comfort of your home.