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Clearwater beaches open for Fourth of July weekend

Pinellas County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Luke Jackels owns a custom T-shirt business on Clearwater Beach and he’s counting on Fourth of July business to help his profit margin for the year.

“This is the most important weekend of our business in the whole year,” Jackels said.

Despite a few slow weekends due to the pandemic, Jackels said business has bounced back and people are returning to the beach.

“They brought more people with them, which is great. The beaches are open, we love it,” he said.

Clearwater police plan to be out in force over the holiday weekend to remind out of town visitors about facemask rules inside and social distancing outside.

Christine Miller owns another bathing suit and T-shirt business a short distance away and has purchased disposable masks to hand out to customers if they are needed.

“We bought 500 to hand out to everybody. I have (them) right here in this fanny. I hand them out all day, every day. Anyone who comes into the business must wear a mask, but most people don’t have a problem with it as long as you talk to them nicely when they enter the doors of course,” Miller said.

Out of town visitors are starting to return to Pinellas County beaches.

Shelly Wathen is visiting from Leonardtown, Maryland, and says she feels comfortable here with her family.

“I had some concerns… I had kind of done my homework a little bit, listened to the governor here in Florida, and noticed that the numbers are a little high, but got to live your life,” Wathen said.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he will have some deputies on area beaches to enforce the rules, but his primary focus will be on indoor spaces.

Gualtieri believes that’s where the virus is being spread, not outside on the beach if people keep their distance.

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