Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Gualtieri Vows Strict Enforcement As Pinellas Limits Alcohol Sales; Beaches Remain Open

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the county is prepared to enforce crowd, restaurant restrictions.
Screenshot from Pinellas County YouTube page livestream.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Pinellas County officials are limiting restaurant alcohol sales, a day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced his city will stop them at 9 p.m.

However, they are keeping beaches open for the time being.

Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said restaurants in Pinellas will have to cease serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

RELATED: Hillsborough County To Limit Restaurant, Bar Hours And Patrons

“This is one additional measure not covered in the governor's order that we think will help keep our residents safe,” Burton said.

Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a 30-day closure of bars and nightclubs across the state. He also set decreased occupancy requirements and staggered seating for restaurants - 50% occupancy and parties have to be spaced out six feet apart.

People are allowed on beaches, said DeSantis, provided they're in groups of 10 or less and also leave room between people.

The governor said he wanted to give local municipalities the flexibility to pass additional measures and restrictions appropriate for their communities. 

RELATED: DeSantis: Bars Will Shut Down Statewide, Crowds Restricted At Restaurants And Beaches

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said state, county, and city measures are in line with Centers for Disease Control Prevention guidelines to help curtail COVID-19.

"This isn't targeting alcohol,” Gualtieri said. “This isn't targeting people when they're out there with their families having dinner, and going about their business. But this is about those people that are gathering in massive groups, and where the spread of this virus has the greatest chance of occurring."

Gualtieri said the sheriff’s department would rather just educate people, but will make arrests if needed.

"If people don't comply, we do have the tools available at our disposal to enforce the law and people should know that it is a crime,” Gualtieri said. “It is a criminal offense if they don't abide by any of these orders that have been issued from the state or here at the county level."

Gualtieri said if people comply, officials likely won't be forced to make difficult choices about shutting down restaurants and beaches entirely.

And the reasons beaches have not been shut down, Gualtieri said, is that doing so would force both residents and visitors into other, smaller locations where the coronavirus is more easily spread. 

He added: "those business owners, the hotel owners and those that operate all these properties, have asked us not to shut down the beaches because it affects their livelihood and affects their businesses and for a whole host of other reasons."

The county has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage with in-depth information, links to resources and archived news releases.

Pinellas County’s Emergency Operations Center is partially activated.

People with questions or concerns can call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday. Those with hearing impairment can chat online at

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.
Daylina Miller
Daylina Miller, multimedia reporter for Health News Florida, was hired to help further expand health coverage statewide.