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Thousands flock to Clearwater Beach despite global push to practice social distancing

Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 16, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — While spring breakers head to beach communities, some Florida cities are enacting extra measures amid coronavirus concerns.

In some areas of Fort Lauderdale, public beaches are closing daily at 4:30 p.m. and bars and restaurants must close before 10 p.m. Miami Beach reportedly enacted similar measures with an 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants, as well as 4:30 p.m. beach closures, including on South Beach. Other states are closing bars and limiting restaurants to take-out only.


Florida Governor Ron Desantis praised city leaders for the move and said he'd like to see other beach communities implement the same measures.

"I think it’s important that these social distancing measures are implemented so that we are able to prevent infections from running completely out of hand," he said during a news conference Sunday.

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The concerns surrounding the virus didn't keep people away from Clearwater Beach over the weekend and on Monday, though.

"I have auto immune diseases and I am a senior. But I really think as long as I’m very safe and I wash my hands constantly, I will be safe and my family will be safe," said Tricia Wood.


Clearwater leaders met Monday to discuss the idea of adding curfews to the beach or closing the sand, but they did not come to a final decision. City leaders plan to discuss with county and state leaders and could make a final decision at Thursday's upcoming city council meeting.

Meanwhile, the governor's office reported Visit Florida is re-evaluating tourism promotion messages and developing long term strategies to keep Florida in mind for potential future travelers.