PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The beaches will remain closed for at least another week, maybe longer, depending on what county officials decide.
And while the waves and the sand are tempting...
“We don’t go over there. Would love to, but we don’t," said Mollie and Russell Strawn, who are adhering to the rules.
According to local law enforcement, most others are, too.
“We’re old but we’re not ready to go,” said Mollie. “We love our life here at the beach and would like to continue it.”
Treasure Island police say they’re breaking up big groups if they see them, which is rare. They’re also handing out warnings and letting folks know the beaches are still officially closed.
It’s the same thing in St. Pete Beach. David Ritchey walks along Gulf Way every day and says people are taking this seriously.
“Pretty well, I think it’s accomplishing what they want,” said Ritchey, talking about the county’s order.
Bruno Falkenstein, the co-owner of Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, also does sea turtle surveys every day.
“I may see four people, if I’m lucky, most of the time I don’t see anyone,” he said, and notices most of them are locals.
Twenty Pinellas County sheriff deputies make up two compliance teams that patrol daily.
“The sheriff’s office does do quite a few flybys and I also see the sheriff's department also doing quite a few rides checking to see the amount of people that are gathering at one place,” said Falkenstein.
If you do see a group of people breaking the rules you can report it to the sheriff’s office tip line by phone at 727-582-TIPS or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
They say they’ve received 1,000 calls since the tip line opened.
“The most important thing that we have to look at again is the value of a life. To me, you can’t put a dollar value on a life,” said Falenstein.
The beach closures have been extended until at least April 17.