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Pinellas Co. officials detour crowds from Clearwater Beach as it was voted to close amid coronavirus concerns

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Posted at 3:10 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 19:33:09-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Thousands were expected to enjoy the weather at Clearwater Beach on Saturday, but due to coronavirus concerns, officials voted to close the coastline.

Beach umbrellas and lawn chairs were replaced with closed signs.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS

“It’s hard when you live right on the beach, it feels like something has been taken,” said Clearwater resident Morgan Mead.

Mead runs 13 miles a day along the beach. It may be closed, but his routine continues.

“Everyone is giving themselves proper distance,” said Mead.

Spring breaker Ava Marks said she’d rather be laying in the sand rather than seeing police patrolling it, but she understands the decision and agrees with it.

“If they didn’t close down the beaches everybody would be there and we are all so close to each other and you don’t know where people come from or who they’ve been around,” said Marks.

RECOMMENDED: Pinellas County votes to close all beaches, public beach parking amid coronavirus concerns

Angie Macy of Ohio said no vacation is worth putting the entire population at risk.

“Oh I’m thinking its great to close the beaches, best thing to do,” said Macy.

Macy said we had our chance, and we couldn’t keep a safe distance, so the government was left with no choice.

“They were not listening, huge crowds of people, rubbing elbows together, not just the young people the old people too,” said Macy.

Law enforcement said so far, people are being cooperative and staying away.

A law enforcement presence will certainly be visible to explain the situation, but they have no plans to write citations.

“People are going to have to beg their way into jail, but if they beg, and they do something really really silly and they don’t listen to many asks, then we’ll do what we got to do,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Officials said all Pinellas County beaches are to remain closed until April 6.

FULL INTERVIEW WITH PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF BOB GUALTIERI

Pinellas County beaches closed until April 6 due to coronavirus concerns