Once-bustling parks and beaches eerily quiet after COVID-19 forces closures

Before the novel coronavirus forced officials to order restrictions on public places and businesses, you could find a packed Curtis Hixon Park on any given day.

Since the recent cancelation of events and the suggestion to stay at home, some have described Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa as a ghost town.

“It’s a little weird, a little eerie, if you will,” offered Matthew Cogan.

Cogan brought his son to the park to get some fresh air and sunshine while keeping his distance. He also took note of how sparse it looked.

READ: Florida shifts coronavirus containment to outside travelers

“It’s unreal, it’s hard to believe. But it is refreshing if you will. Everybody gets to take a deep breath and enjoy some family time,” he said.

Jordan Duffy, a University of Tampa student, took notice of how empty the streets of Tampa looked.

“There is no traffic noise, there is like nothing, no commotion going on,” she explained. 

Across the bay, Clearwater Beach visitor Kelsey Allen has seen the transformation from a bustling beach to empty sands.

“When we got here on Thursday it was booming, the streets were filled and the beach was super crowded. And then Today, each day it has gotten less and less more people and it is like a ghost town now,” she stated.

MORE: St. Pete mayor preps stay-at-home order, but says governor should provide 'statewide uniformity'

Clearwater Beach closed this past week to help reduce crowds and for most residents, this is the first time they have ever seen it this empty.

“This time of year, everyone knows it is usually packed, bumper to bumper traffic, just tons and tons of people. And there is basically nothing going on right now,” explained Lacey Devlaming. “Seeing a beach like this with no humans is definitely pretty strange.”

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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