MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Manatee County is closing its Beer Can Island and all of its boat ramps in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Effective on Thursday morning at 6 a.m., boaters will no longer be allowed to access any of the county’s public boat ramps, Public Safety Director Jake Saur announced at a public meeting on Tuesday morning. The closure would also affect the boating destination also known as Beer Can Island, which was already closed to the public, but open to boaters who have memberships. The island is not to be mistaken with Pine Key Island in Hillsborough County, which is also called Beer Can Island.
“At that time, we will also be closing Beer Can Island, also known as Greer Island to the public,” Saur announced. “All Manatee County beaches continue to remain closed to the public.”
Saur said the county agreed to close the ramps after consulting with a number of officials from local municipalities.
“I cannot emphasize enough the extent to which actions taken now will save lives later,” Saur said. “As we move forward, additional county and city area closures are needed.”
Saur said the order does not affect any private marinas or docks, and that all public parks remain open.
Commercial fisherman can access the water by using the south boat ramp on Coquina Beach, officials said.
“Currently, we have no designated spot on the north county for commercial fisherman. If there is a commercial fisherman that needs to get business done, they can contact our beach patrol and we can work out a way for them to be able to launch their boat,” Saur said.
Saur said the county also plans to open a coronavirus testing site later this week, and has collected best practices from other communities that have recently opened their own testing sites.
“We expect to open a limited drive-through testing site later this week, and we will make a press release and announcement about that in the near future,” Saur said.
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