Low temps have people seeking warmth inside businesses, cold weather shelters

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As the temperature drops around Tampa Bay people are doing what they can to stay warm.

While some businesses are trying to get people to come out on a Friday night, others are working to bring people in off the street.

“I’m always cold so this is freezing weather to me,” said Dawn Siciak, a St. Petersburg resident.

“So you’re not a fan of tonight,” asks 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal.

“Not at all,” said Dawn.

She and her husband went out for dinner, but noticed fewer crowds on downtown st. Pete’s sidewalks.

“Definitely outside there’s usually more people sitting outside so going into the restaurants and seeing them all packed is a little more different than usual,” said Anthony Siciak, Dawn’s husband.

Restaurants and bars depending on people going out are doing what they can to entice customers.

“Only thing we really do is put fire outside and let them know you can warm up for a little bit out there then come in for a drink to warm you on the inside,” said Jason Saal, general manager of Tropez St. Pete.

While businesses are working to bring people inside so are cold weather shelters across Pinellas County. At Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, a line forms with folks choosing to stay inside where it’s warm instead of the cold streets.

A hot meal is served along with thick blankets and a sleeping pad as volunteers share a smile and a kind word to warm their souls.

“People are recognized and they are known as another neighbor instead of just another person that’s out on the street,” said Lauren Wolf with Learning Empowered.

Pinellas County is not the only county with cold weather shelters open. There are shelters open in Sarasota, Hernando, and Citrus counties as well.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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