Pinellas County beachgoers will no longer have to stay six-feet apart from other groups or limited gatherings to ten people after County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to lift the only remaining restrictions in place.
More lively crowds will also have an easier go of smuggling beer and White Claw onto beaches where alcohol is not permitted as law enforcement will no longer be patrolling the sands with increased presence.
Previously, law enforcement officers were staged at every beach access point. About 300 officers had been on hand, but no more.
The county is still encouraging social distancing measures and using facial coverings, but is not requiring it.
Thursday’s vote also lifts restrictions on private pools used by the public like those at hotels and motels. Under previous rules, those pools could only operate at half-capacity.
The county is also allowing childcare facilities to resume playground use and public playgrounds will reopen June 1.
Officials recommended lifting restrictions as Pinellas County’s coronavirus case load continued to flatten. They considered current infections and rate of infection as well as hospital capacity in their decision.
Pinellas County officials also reported a successful reopening since beaches opened May 4. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said no arrests were made at beaches or pools related to individuals bucking the rules.
Signs will remain in place at most beaches informing residents and visitors of the recommended guidelines.