Beaches in Pinellas County staying open despite concerns over coronavirus

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County officials said Tuesday that beaches will remain open despite concerns over the coronavirus.

Video of a packed Clearwater Beach went viral on Monday. Many Twitter users commented, criticizing local officials for keeping the beach open. Criticism also poured in for those who were at the beach, ignoring “social distancing” recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

County officials doubled down on their decision to keep beaches open during a news conference on Tuesday.

“We are also, at this time, announcing that our beaches remain open,” Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said. “However, we’re working with the beach communities, the hotels and the business owners to implement the CDC social distancing guidelines.”

The administrator says visitors are asked to not gather in groups larger than 10 and to keep a distance of six feet between parties. Hotel operators are being asked to spread out residents, chairs and beach activities.

“We will continue to monitor and make adjustments accordingly,” he said.

Burton also announced a local executive order he’s implementing starting Wednesday.

“All restaurants and other establishments licensed to sell alcohol for the consumption on-premises shall cease serving at 10 p.m.,” he said.

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