Sarasota and Manatee counties will close all public beaches amid worries about the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials from the two counties held a joint news conference Thursday from the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center.
Sarasota County Government Administrator Jonathan Lewis said residents have been adhering to guidelines but officials remain concerned.
"Unfortunately, some of our neighboring communities and communities from around the state are closing their beaches and we've become very worried about what that impact will look like on our beaches as people move from their beaches to ours," he said. “Again, our residents have been fantastic and we will do our best to keep this closure as short as possible. We will continue to have staff out there to keep an eye on things, in addition to the Sheriff’s Department and their team.”
Sarasota County will be closing its public beaches starting at 6 a.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, Manatee County Public Safety Director Jake Sauer said the public beaches on Anna Maria Island will be closed a day earlier-- Friday at 6 a.m.
“Manatee County utilities along with code enforcement and beach patrol have been working diligently throughout the day to prep the island’s beaches and to close facilities," he said.
Beach closure signs and barricades will alert visitors to the closures, he added.
The closings will not impact private beaches.