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Sheriff’s office launches a new tool for beach visitors

Margie Manning



Photo credit: Joe Hamilton

We’re coming up on the first weekend that Pinellas County beaches are open since mid-March. The  Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is taking a new approach to keep crowds under control.

A new website,, will provide real-time updates on the capacity of beaches, beach parking lots, and bridges.

The website goes live at 1 p.m. Friday, May 8.

Pinellas beaches closed on March 21, as the county sought to control the spread of Covid-19. They reopened Monday morning with about 250 deputies from the sheriff’s office posted to ensure visitors followed social distancing guidelines.

“This weekend we’ll be asking people and educating people and making sure they are social distancing. If they don’t, we’ll keep reminding them, and if they don’t we’ll ask them to leave,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in Facebook Live briefing Thursday.

The new sheriff’s office website is a dashboard that lists every beach in Pinellas County, from Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs to Fort DeSoto in Tierra Verde. It also includes beach parking lots and bridges. Beaches and related facilities that are open will be highlighted in green. Those that are getting near capacity will be highlighted in yellow and those that are closed will be highlighted in red. It also will suggest alternative beach sites for those that are near capacity or full.

The Sheriff’s Office will also be posting status updates throughout the weekend on Facebook at @pinellassheriff and on Twitter at @SheriffPinellas


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