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Floridians flock to Pinellas County beaches on the first weekend since reopening

Clearwater Beach reached capacity by noon
Posted at 2:40 PM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 01:56:17-04

CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. — As you would expect on any weekend with perfect weather, Clearwater Beach is packed.

“This is the first time that we’ve been back here and we missed it. So much," said Carlin Guite.

RECOMMENDED: Check Pinellas County beach capacity in real-time with this tool

The parking lot near Frenchy’s filled up before 9 a.m., making it difficult for people to find spots.

Pinellas County beaches have been opened since Monday, but this is the first weekend people have been able to return.

“It’s really crowded there. We like to come early so we will be back early," said Carrie McLaughlin.

Those who come to the beaches are greeted by signs with the usual guidelines. And police are watching by land and air.

“People get used to the rules and they will obey them. I think they’ll do the right think," said Jeff Kronschnabl.

Kronschnabl and his wife enjoyed a bike ride back at the beach.

“We gotta get past this. It appears everything is fine. They got the distance, they got the masks, they got sanitizers. They are doing all the right things," he said.

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“I feel like we’ve got to get back to some sort of normalcy. And we live at the beach so it’s going to be good to be back and get a little sun," said Guite.

Clearwater police say they have at least double the amount of normal officers patrolling the beach this weekend.

By noon on Saturday, they closed beach access by Frenchy's, posting a big "Beach Full" sign.