Manatee County public beaches to close tomorrow, March 20 at 6 a.m.

Manatee County public beaches to close tomorrow, March 20 at 6 a.m.
Posted on 03/19/2020
County and municipal officials today announced that the beaches of Anna Maria Island will close tomorrow, March 20 at 6 a.m. Beach closure signs and barricades will alert drivers to the closure.

"Each day as our local situation has changed and new advisories have been sent, Manatee County residents have heeded warnings and taken official advice seriously," said County Administrator Cheri Coryea. "We're hoping for more of the same with our beach announcement. Parking lots will be closed and signs placed to alert drivers and we expect that most people will heed that advice."

Manatee County lifeguards will remain on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, to ensure the safety of those who disregard the closure. A double red flag, indicating no swimming, will fly from lifeguard stands.

Coryea said the decision was made to close beaches with careful input from the mayors on Anna Maria Island and after speaking with Sarasota County officials in order to continue the close coordination of the two counties during the coronavirus outbreak.

"This is not a step we take lightly to close our beaches, but together with the advice of the public health officials we believe it is a step that's in the public's best interest," Coryea said. "Our primary concern is the health and safety of our residents and visitors and the people they return home to. The leadership of the Island cities of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, the City of Anna Maria and the Town of Longboat Key collectively brainstormed this decision and will have the authority to manage the impacts in their community."

Administrator Coryea, along with Manatee Sheriff Rick Wells, Department of Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Bencie, and Public Safety Director Jacob Saur will provide more details on the local response during a press conference tomorrow, March 20 at 2 p.m. The press conference will be held in the Honorable Patricia M. Glass Chambers of the County Administration Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton.

Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur made the announcement with Sarasota County officials today at a 3 p.m. press conference at the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center. Sarasota public beaches will close Saturday, March 21 at 6 a.m.

Manatee County Code Enforcement Officers will assist the Island communities enforcing the beach closure.

The County-owned Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe will remain open but the Coquina Beach Cafe will be closed during beach closures. The Anna Maria Island Trolley will continue to operate.

For a full list of closures and cancellations, visit www.mymanatee.org/coronavirus