PD: Officers will make sure Clearwater Beach remains empty when closure begins Monday, March 23
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Clearwater Police say come Monday, Clearwater Beach will be totally empty, and they’ll be the ones enforcing it.
“We’ll have extra officers out here on duty, informing people that the beaches are closed,” said Clearwater Police Public Information Officer Rob Shaw.
Wednesday night, Clearwater City Council voted 4-1 to close the beach, but not until Monday. Officials decided the city will wait until next week to follow other beach cities in the decision to close the sand -- in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision has drawn criticism on social media, many wondering why the order doesn’t go into effect until Monday.
READ: Manatee, Sarasota counties stagger beach closings, starting Friday
Clearwater city officials felt their decision was a compromise with business owners concerned about the closure affecting the local economy. They believe it will give businesses some extra time to clear their inventory.
PREVIOUS: Clearwater City Council votes to delay closing beaches until Monday, March 23
Shaw told FOX 13 his officers will spend the next few days on the beach informing beachgoers they only have a few days left to enjoy the shoreline.
But they don’t plan on putting fencing around the beach.
“Right now, that’s not a part of the plan,” he said. “We’ll be redeploying officers and other personnel out here Monday, basically just as a show that we’re out here and it’s not a time to be on the beach.”
Another part of the closures includes the beach walk at the edge of the sand line, which will close as well. But parking will remain partially open.
“We’ll have reduced parking,” Shaw said. “We want people to know that Clearwater restaurants, the beach retail, they’re all open. It’s not like a hurricane that we’re closing access to this entire area, we still want people to come out and enjoy the restaurants, and enjoy the retail.”