PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Clearwater Beach will shut down for two weeks amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
City council members voted Wednesday night to shut down the popular beach starting Monday at 6 a.m.
Earlier in the day, Pinellas County leaders stood by their decision to keep county beaches open despite concerns. Officials held a phone call Wednesday afternoon to talk about those concerns regarding beaches. Shortly after the call, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that the beaches would stay open.
Hours after that decision was made, the Clearwater City Council held their emergency meeting that ultimately ended in the vote to close Clearwater Beach.
In the past week or so, thousands of people have packed beaches all over the county. Video and images from Clearwater Beach show a packed house. They have since gone viral, causing many people around the country to question the decision to keep the beaches open.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not shut down the state’s beaches during the pandemic.
Instead, DeSantis signed an order that would limit parties on beaches to 10 people per group and force any businesses authorized to sell liquor to reduce occupancy by half.
“I think if you’re a teenager, it really doesn’t matter because you only live once,” said Tatiana Hollister, who was on Clearwater Beach Wednesday. “But if you’re old, I recommend staying indoors because it’s mainly affects old people.”
Another spring breaker told CNN: “I feel like we shouldn’t, like, change our lifestyles necessarily just because of like, corona, especially cause it hasn’t been affecting younger people. I think, like, that’s why we don’t take it seriously.”
President Donald Trump addressed the crowding on beaches during a White House news conference on Wednesday.
“We don’t want them gathering. And I see they do gather including on beaches and in restaurants – young people,” the president said. “They’re feeling invincible but don’t realize they can be carrying lots of bad things home.”
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