Pinellas County leaders decide to keep beaches, pools closed

Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 12:02:02-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Pinellas County Commissioners decided on Thursday morning to keep local beaches and pools closed in the midst of the pandemic.

The decision comes after the Pinellas County Sheriff and County Administrators talked about the need to keep the closures in place in order to keep the number of COVID-19 cases from increasing. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told commission leaders that the measures would be difficult to enforce.

Commissioner Kathleen Peters was the sole commissioner who wanted to see beaches and pools reopened specifically for exercise purposes.

During a meeting on Monday, leaders said they would take up the topic to reopen parts of beaches and private pools at condominiums for recreation and exercise.

“I really think we should consider opening them for exercise, at least for running and walking,” said Commissioner Kathleen Peters. She added she feels Pinellas County residents are being responsible to keep their distance to be safe.

“I think opening pools at condos is important. A lot of senior citizens need to be in the pools. It helps with their arthritis. It’s good for their exercise,” Peters added.

RELATED: Pinellas Sheriff says he does not support partially reopening private pools and beaches soon

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was vocal about not supporting the idea. He said Pinellas County’s peak number of COVID-19 cases is not expected until April 26.

The sheriff compared opening pools and beaches to taking medication like Penicillin. The sheriff says you wouldn’t start a prescription and not finish it.

He believes opening up the beaches too soon will have adverse effects on the number of cases in Tampa Bay.

The 35 miles of Pinellas County coastline closed at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 20 amid coronavirus concerns.