VENICE –– While Sarasota County commissioners decided Wednesday morning to allow limited access to county-owned beaches, the three gulf-front cities are not following the county’s lead.
Beaches in the cities of Venice and Sarasota and the town of Longboat Key will all remain closed for the present.
Venice city officials placed the following statement on the city’s Facebook page to clarify what beaches in the city remain closed.
“In the City of Venice, the South Jetty (Humphris Park), Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Paw Park, playgrounds and tennis courts, and the children’s fountain in Centennial Park will remain closed.”
Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“These decisions must be guided by public health and medical considerations. At the National level both Dr. Fouchi and Dr. Birx have suggested that lifting restrictions on social gatherings should only be considered by Governor’s, County Commissions, Mayors and City Managers, following two weeks of no increases and preferably declines in new Covid cases. Lessening restrictions early, especially with limited local testing, could backfire over time. We surely do not want to go through this again. I know how hard this has been for everybody, but our recovery needs to be smart, well thought out, rock solid and sustainable,” Barwin wrote.
Public health officials across the country have all urged governments to go slow fearing that moves to reopen the country too soon could lead to a second and more deadly COVID-19 wave.
In easing their restrictions, Sarasota County commissioners chose not to open parking lots feeling that would limit large crowds from congregating on the beaches. They stressed that the only activities permitted would be those set forth in the governor’s executive order such as swimming, jogging or running for example.