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Beaches And Parks Are Reopening Across Florida. Here's What's Happening In Tampa Bay

Closed sign at Upper Tampa Bay Park
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
Some counties across Tampa Bay have reopened beaches and parks on a limited basis.

Things are returning to normal across Tampa Bay.

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Pinellas County voted to reopen its beaches to sunbathers, Manatee County said visitors can walk, swim and fish on its beaches, and Hernando County voted to make its parks and beaches available again to visitors -- all under social distancing guidelines.

Pasco County also opted to open its parks on a limited basis and beaches are already open for outdoor activity in Sarasota.

Gov. Ron DeSantis' "full Phase 1" plan to reopen Florida started May 18.

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Hillsborough County followed suit by reopening its parks and nature preserves, as did Polk County.

But not every municipality is eager to reopen.

So, as restrictions loosen in some parts of the state, how are counties in Tampa Bay responding?

Pinellas County: Public beaches reopened May 4 to beachgoers, as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines and don't gather in groups of more than 10. Public pools reopened April 30. Boat ramps and marinas remain open, but people must adhere to social distancing guidelines. For more information, visit Pinellas County's coronavirus webpage.

ALSO READ: Is A Pinellas Beach Closed Or At Capacity? A Website Will Let You Know

Hillsborough County: County parks and dog parks reopened on May 18. Tennis, pickleball and volleyball courts reopened, but organized groups and teams are still not allowed. The county says outside restrooms will be available at staffed sites, but visitors are advised to bring water for themselves and for their dogs. Social distancing rules remain in effect and the county encourages the use of face masks. Skate parks, playgrounds, rec centers and athletic fields will remain closed for now. The City of Tampa has opened all parks and a number of public swimming pools. For a full list, visit Hillsborough County's coronavirus webpage.

Pasco County: Select parks, preserves and nature trails have reopened on a limited basis. Social distancing guidelines will still be followed and groups of 10 or more aren't permitted. Sunwest Park also reopened for essential recreation activities only to existing annual passholders. Visitors must adhere to social distancing/gathering guidelines.

The list of parks that reopened include:

  • Withlacoochee River Park, Dade City 
  • Aripeka Sandhills Preserve, Hudson 
  • Boy Scout Preserve, New Port Richey 
  • Crews Lake Wilderness Park, Spring Hill 
  • Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, NPR 
  • Key Vista Nature Park, Holiday 
  • Lake Lisa Park, Port Richey 
  • Pasco Palms Preserve, New Port Richey 
  • Upper Pithlachascotee Preserve, Spring Hill 
  • Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park, Hudson 

The following public boat ramps remain open:

  • Anclote River Park, Holiday (restroom access) 
  • Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park, Hudson
  • Moon Lake Park, New Port Richey 
  • Middle Lake, Dade City 
  • Eagle Point Park, (kayak & canoe) New Port Richey 

For more information, visit Pasco County's coronavirus webpage.

Hernando County: Beaches and parks have reopened. Boat ramps and marinas remain open as long as people are following social distancing guidelines. Officials extended the bus fare suspension until May 31. For more information, visit Hernando County's coronavirus webpage.

Polk County: Parks and preserves across Polk County reopened under social distancing guidelines. Visitors are urged to not congregate in any parking areas or pavilions. All boat ramps have reopened. Ball fields are also closed to all organized activities. For more information, visit Polk County's coronavirus webpage.

Manatee County: Public beaches reopened May 4 with restrictions -- visitors can walk, swim and fish on county beaches. However, coolers and umbrellas will not be allowed. County Commissioners voted unanimously April 28 to open beach parking lots, but there will be a two-hour time limit. Only a partial number of spaces will be available. Restrooms will be opened as well but concession stands will remain closed.

On April 21, county commissioners voted 4-3 to rescind the nighttime curfew taking place between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Some parks and preserves remain closed. Boat ramps are open to boaters and trailers only. Officials say residents wishing to use kayaks or canoes should use designated launches at parks and preserves that remain open. For a full list of the of which parks are closed, visit Manatee County's coronavirus webpage.

Sarasota County: Beaches in the county reopened with restrictions April 27. Lido Beach reopened on May 19. For a full list of closures and updates, visit Sarasota County's coronavirus webpage.

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