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Pinellas beaches

Coronavirus sign at Clearwater Beach
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Visitors to Pinellas County beaches are no longer required to practice social distancing.

Public pools and playgrounds will also be allowed to operate at full capacity.

A yellow beach sign encourages people to stay six feet apart.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Memorial Day weekend is usually one of the busiest on Florida's beaches.

But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Friday that won't be the case this year. Speaking to reporters at an outdoor beach command center, he said Pinellas leaders want to make sure there's no spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

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.

Clearwater Beach
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

As more folks flock to Pinellas County beaches now that they’re open, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has launched a tool that will help beach-goers plan their day.

Pier 60 closed
MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Beaches and pools in Pinellas County will soon be reopened.

Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday voted 6-1 to reopen beaches, parking lots and restrooms starting Monday at 7 a.m. following public comment both for and against the idea.

sheriff stands in front of microphones, showing photos to unseen audience
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Boat ramps and marinas in Pinellas County are going to remain open to the public despite other COVID-19 restrictions.

In a press conference Friday, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he sees "no problem" with it – but he’s reminding people they need to behave.

Pinellas County Sheriff Gaultieri and Clearwater Beach Chief Dan Slaughter hold a news conference on Clearwater Beach
Pinellas County Sheirff's Office Facebook

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was critical on Saturday of the national media’s coverage of  local spring breakers, which he said led to the closure of all county beaches this week.

Pinellas County officials are urging residents and visitors to stay away from some blue-green algae blooms that have popped up in the last week.