The Tampa Bay Times reports:
The City Council voted on Wednesday to close public access for two weeks to Clearwater Beach, one of the nation’s top tourist destinations, as a precaution to stem the spread of the coronavirus. It does not apply to businesses on Clearwater Beach.
The decision is a break from the unified stance reached on Tuesday between Pinellas County and city leaders to keep the public beaches open amid fears that thousands of tourists would be displaced to more susceptible areas like hotels and restaurants and that restless residents would congregate elsewhere.
But concerns over the spread of the virus prevailed. Clearwater Beach made national news this week as photos of hordes of tourists crowding the shores went viral, and the city was inundated with criticism. Clearwater now joins Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa as municipalities that have closed beaches to the public.
#BREAKING: CLOSED: After days of being packed for spring break amid #coronavirus crisis, city leaders in @MyClearwater decide to close public beaches for 2 weeks, including popular Clearwater Beach. pic.twitter.com/SEEK2GZNOB
— Ryan Hughes (@WFLARyan) March 18, 2020
BUSY BEACH! This is what @MyClearwater Beach looks like right now as spring break crowds flock to the sand. #Clearwater leaders haven’t decided if they should add a curfew or close beaches but they may vote on measures related to the #coronavirus this Thursday. @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/jGoxQdYJg5
— Sarah J. Hollenbeck (@SarahHollenbeck) March 16, 2020