Online tracker helps beachgoers check Pinellas Co. capacity before they leave home

Pinellas County

INDIAN SHORES, Fla. (WFLA) – Just steps from picturesque Indian Shores is a mobile command center operated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

8 On Your Side went inside Friday and watched as deputies took down information about beach capacity, relayed to them by other deputies in the field.

“We got about 300 deputies out,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “They are on the sand, they’re in parking lots and on the roadways. Every 30 minutes, or more frequent, they call into the bus behind me, and they’re giving status updates.”

That information, very rich and timely, is put into an online dashboard and the public sees it immediately.

It shows how busy beaches are and if they are closed because of too many beachgoers.

The sheriff said the site had more than 200,000 hits over the past couple of weeks.

He certainly hopes it helps people follow social distancing guidelines and not get too close to one another while enjoying the Memorial Day weekend.

“Everyone should know we’re going to make every single effort to redirect them to the open spaces. So, we ask them to work with us and move to the open sand area,” the sheriff said.

It is a sentiment shared by those like Karen Chain, who came to Indian Shores Friday to have a good time, even though it was at a distance.

“We are hoping that they will use their common since and stay 6 feet apart and use some appropriate social distancing with no big groups and everything, so they don’t ruin it for everybody,” Chain said.

To visit the Pinellas County Beach Capacity Dashboard, click here.

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