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Manatee County Beaches closed to public, island residents still allowed in some spots

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Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 19:23:18-04

ANNA MARIA, Fla. -- Beaches are closed to the public in Manatee County, but some people are still hitting the sand.

Gates are locked at beach public parking areas and "Beaches Closed" signs line roads along Anna Maria Island.

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Manatee County says they have asked residents to make a good faith effort to heed the beach restrictions.

The county also says leadership of the Island cities of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, the City of Anna Maria and the Town of Longboat Key have the authority to manage the impacts in their community. Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea has offered to assist the cities with enforcing the beach restrictions in those communities, if need be.

Most cities on Anna Maria Island say beaches are closed to the public, but residents are still allowed on the beach. City governments say law enforcement is patrolling to make sure people stay at least six feet away from each other and are not in big groups.

The sheriff released a video on Monday asking people for voluntary compliance.

"Please stay at home unless you truly need food, money, gas, or medicine. Let’s make the choice now to shelter in place while we still have that personal choice to make," said Rick Wells, Manatee County Sheriff.  

Holmes Beach government says they are putting up dozens of "no parking" signs near beach access points to stop people from coming to beaches. 

Manatee County says right now there is no end date to the beaches closure.