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beaches

People walking on a beach
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

If you're planning to head to a Pinellas beach and want to check the county's dashboard to see how busy it is, you won't be able to see real-time information on weekdays.

While the dashboard won't be active Monday through Friday, the Sheriff's Department is still monitoring crowds and breaking up groups of more than 10 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. It is also providing updates on its Twitter account.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Hernando County park and beach locations will reopen starting Wednesday.

Flagler County will reopen its beaches on Sunday, April 26, with some restrictions on allowed activities. 

A green lifeguard stand on Siesta Beach, with a few people milling about.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Sarasota County Commissioners have voted to reopen beaches.

But there will be restrictions.

Beginning Monday, people will be able to walk, swim and fish at Sarasota County beaches. These are deemed as "essential activities" outlined by Governor Ron DeSantis' stay-at-home order.

While other major U.S. cities have announced an extension to stay-at-home orders into mid-May, Jacksonville could be headed in the opposite direction.

An aerial picture of Clearwater Beach.
Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

Pinellas County Commissioners did not vote Thursday on easing restrictions to local beaches, but it’s still under consideration.

a mama bird with its speckled baby bird
Mary Lundeberg

Beach closures due to the coronavirus pandemic are devastating Florida’s tourism industry but they could be beneficial for shorebirds that nest on the sand this time of year.  

Typically birds like least terns, American oystercatchers and black skimmers have to share beaches with hordes of beachgoers as they lay their eggs on bare sand or in shelly areas.

A screenshot of multiple pinellas commissioners sitting in their home or offices while on a zoom video conference.
Screenshot of Pinellas County Commission emergency Zoom meeting

Pinellas County commissioners will discuss the possibility of easing beach restrictions during a meeting on Thursday.

The subject came up at a Monday meeting where commissioners extended a local state of emergency until Friday. That order includes the continued closure of public beaches and beach parking areas.

People wading in water, kayakers row past
Pasco County Parks, Recreation, Natural Resources Department

Pasco County is the latest Tampa Bay area county to close its beaches because of the coronavirus.

Starting at 8 p.m. Friday, the beaches at Anclote River Park, Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park, Robert K. Rees Memorial Park and Sunwest Park will temporarily close.

An aerial picture of Clearwater Beach.
Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

It’s hard to gauge just how many people are on Florida beaches today, but the sentiment across social media platforms is the same: locals are furious at both the spring breakers and government officials.

While Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will not forcefully close public beaches due to COVID-19 concerns, several cities and counties have taken the initiative to do so, including Pinellas County, which closes its beaches Friday by midnight.

A house in Pinellas County during a flooding event, with piles of sandbags trying to protect it
Photography provided courtesy of Pinellas County Marketing and Communications Department

For everyone who filled up sandbags in advance of Hurricane Dorian and is now wondering how to get rid of them, county officials throughout Tampa Bay say: hang on.

Santa Rosa Beach, in Florida's Walton County, is a quiet place with sugar-white sand, a pleasant surf and signs warning visitors to stay out. The largely rural county on Florida's Panhandle is at the center of a battle over one of the state's most precious resources: its beaches. Most of the 26 miles of beaches are already privately owned. As of July 1, homeowners with beachfront property in Walton County can declare their beach private and off-limits to the public. The new law has sparked a standoff between wealthy homeowners and other local residents.

Cleanup rules are being waived for the removal of dead fish from areas of red tide in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. 

Tourism, fishing and public health are being threatened by contaminants discoloring stretches of beaches at the southern end of the Florida peninsula.

Visit Florida

A property owner in St. Pete Beach has won big in a dispute over public beach access.

A federal court has ordered the city to pay Chet Chmielewski's estate $1.5 million.

An outbreak of red tide is killing fish off the southwest Florida coast.

Florida lawmakers want to weigh in on who really has access to the state’s beaches. A bill moving in the statehouse is meant to settle a long-running dispute between private landowners and the public, by handing the issue over to the courts.

Florida’s beaches are in constant need of restoration, to truck in sand that the sea washes away. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, miles of critically eroded beaches are in even more danger. Now a powerful lawmaker is once again trying to get funding to replenish the shorelines.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It seemed an obvious solution to Michael Oded, who was asked at the last minute Friday to get sandbags and secure his friend’s Davis Islands home from flooding.

Flickr

Communities across Florida are preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, and one natural line of defense we have is the state’s beaches.

But not all beaches are equally suited to protect us, thanks to past storm damage, coastal development and Florida’s ever-changing landscape.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

Hurricane season is well underway. And storms that hit the coast can wreak havoc on our state's beaches. This week on Florida Matters we're taking another listen to our discussion on beach erosion and how to repair it.


DEP

The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten's fur — all because it's comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

It costs a lot of money to keep Florida’s beaches “postcard ready.” How much sand is on your favorite beach? In some cases, not quite enough.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


This past state legislative session, Florida’s beaches got the most funding for renourishment than they have in more than a decade: $50 million. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 a.m.), we’re exploring some of the many beaches around Tampa Bay, with a look at parking, water quality and recollections of beach days gone by.

Exploring Miami Beach one recent afternoon, Swiss tourists Adrian Cannistra and Shkunte Mustafa said they considered vacationing on a beach closer to home before booking the lengthy overseas flight.

Greece might have been ideal — with the financial crisis, bargains can be had and many Swiss are taking advantage. Cannistra has vacationed in Tunisia but said recent terrorist attacks there scared him away from North Africa.

"The Swiss don't go there anymore," he said. "They're afraid."

Parasailing Regulations Get Launched in Senate

Feb 14, 2014
Associated Press

An effort to impose minimum regulations on the parasailing industry, aided by video of a ghastly accident last summer that went viral on the Internet, is starting to get off the ground in the state Legislature.

Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.

Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.

While on vacation Monday at Florida's Seagrove Beach, east of Pensacola, NPR's Russell Lewis snapped a photo that's been picking up quite a few retweets. It wasn't "Sharknado II," but does seem to have caught folks' interest.

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