SARASOTA, Fla. - As Manatee County removes its time limit restrictions for beach parking, just south, in the city of Sarasota, things got pretty heated during a Tuesday night virtual meeting as city commissioners debated reopening Lido Beach.
Some commissioners argued businesses, especially those in St. Armands Circle, depend on Lido Beach visitors, and with surrounding beaches open, beachgoers are simply taking their business elsewhere.
“There are people that are trying to open and follow the governor’s orders, but with the beach closed, they have no customers out there. You do not want to see a St. Armands Circle with plywood over every other window,” said Commissioner Hagen Brody. “There’s no causal connection between us opening our little beach and an increase in cases. If you go and look, South Lido is open, the resorts are all open...you’re talking about a couple hundred yards of sand open to the public, our residents, to be able to go use.”
Other commissioners argued current testing data doesn’t support easing restrictions.
“The numbers have consistently shown that more people have died as a result of this virus over the last 14 days irrespective of the fact that they have not increased in comparison to the number of businesses that’ve been affected,” said Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland-Eddie.
“Our city is about 12.5% of our county, yet, we have about 30% of the cases. That’s a disproportionate amount. I’m looking after the fact that our city is a hotspot,” said Mayor Jen Ahern-Kock. “I would rather we err on the side of caution.”
In a 3-to-2 vote, city of Sarasota commissioners decided to keep Lido Beach closed for at least another week.
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