SIESTA KEY, Fla. - Beaches in Sarasota County were already open for a week for exercise only, but, starting Monday, beachgoers can hit the sand for all purposes, including sunbathing.
Sarasota County leaders voted to eliminate some restrictions, allowing public parking lots to be used. Beachgoers can also bring chairs, umbrellas and coolers.
The only restriction: remain socially distant and keep groups to 10 people or less.
The changes went into effect Monday, May 4 and apply to every beach in Sarasota County, except Lido Beach, which is within the city of Sarasota.
Other changes that will begin Monday are:
- Public restrooms will be open
- Chairs, coolers and canopies will also now be allowed, but the county is asking all beachgoers to maintain social distancing and keep groups to 10 or less
- Concessions, playgrounds, amenities and picnic shelters will remain closed and are planned for opening as part of Phase 3 of beach reopening
County-operated pickleball and tennis courts reopened over the weekend. For a list of open courts, head to the county's website.
Sarasota County reopened beaches last week for exercise only. They reported no apparent issues and planned to phase in public parking for two weeks.
However, with the governor's reopening plan starting Monday, they chose to eliminate those restrictions sooner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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