CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. — Pinellas County beaches are open again.
And the beachgoers have returned.
- All Pinellas County beaches reopened Monday
- Visitors will be allowed to sit on the beach, walk and swim
- The beaches closed on March 20 to help stop the spread of COVID-19
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For the first time in six weeks, people put their toes in the sand at Clearwater Beach as all Pinellas beaches reopened Monday morning.
“I love it. I’m so glad to be out here," said Clearwater resident Mary Bagalay, who added that beachgoers appeared to be orderly and following social distancing guidelines.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was pleased by what he was seeing.
"People are compliant, they're cooperative, they want to be here and they want to work with us and I hope that continues," he said.
That was a change from last weekend, when people went to beaches that were closed.
“We saw some of the closed parking lots where people were ripping down the rope lines, pushing over the barrels. They were not cooperative with the deputies,” Gualtieri said.
Beachgoers will have to stay six feet away from other people and no groups larger than 10 will be allowed.
Beach parking lots are open and there will be reminder signs while driving to the beach and all along the beach.
And officers are patrolling the sand and ambassadors making sure patrons are aware of the social distancing guidelines.
Officials say you should also wear your mask and add some other items to your beach bag.
“I would ask people to bring their own PPE (personal protection equipment) and sanitizers,” said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard. “We will be sanitizing along the entire beach but it's also good to have your own if you're going to utilize the showers or touch anything els. You still need to use, like I said, common sense.”
Also, officials are asking visitors to make a ring around your group on the beach so others know it's your space and to make sure there's adequate room between groups.
If someone is not complying with the social distancing guidelines they will be asked to leave the beach.
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