CLEARWATER, Fla.. -- City officials have voted to shut down Clearwater Beach for two weeks amid coronavirus concerns.
The decision comes just days after ABC Action News' videos and photos showing thousands of beachgoers flocking to Clearwater Beach went viral.
— Ryan Smith (@RyanReports) March 18, 2020
The closure goes into effect starting March 23 at 6 a.m. and will last for two weeks.
"That’s what’s weighing on my mind, if we delay this how many of us will get sick, how many may die," said Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos.
The closures will only impact the sand and not the businesses along Clearwater Beach. But several restaurant owners spoke out before Wednesday's vote, warning that if the beach goes, so will their business.
"The long-term effect of this is very scary because I don’t know, when it’s all over, who is going to be able to bounce back,said Rusty Pearl, owner of Pearly's Beach Eats. "It’s going to be very difficult."
The City of Tampa also voted to shut down its beaches:
• Ben T Davis Beach, 7740 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 33607
• Cypress Point Beach, 5620 W Cypress St, Tampa, 33607
• Davis Islands Beach, 864 Severn Ave, Tampa, 33606
• Picnic Island Beach, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, 33616
- RECOMMENDED: All Florida bars, nightclubs closed for at least 30 days amid coronavirus pandemic
- RECOMMENDED: Governor announces no groups of more than 10 people on Florida beaches
The decision also comes days after President Donald Trump urged all Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people in a group.