Lounging on county-operated beaches to be allowed as of May 4, with parking lots reopening

As of May 2, county-operated pickleball and tennis courts to reopen, with social distancing emphasized

A COVID-19 warning sign stands close to the walkway leading to the Pavilion at Siesta Key Public Beach on March 18. The public will be asked to continue to adhere to CDC guidelines as more restrictions are eased at county-operated beaches beginning May 4. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Not only will the parking lots reopen at 6 a.m. at Sarasota County-operated beaches on Monday, May 4, but, once again, chairs, coolers and canopies will be allowed as of that date, county Communications Department staff announced on April 30.

The changes are in response to the Executive Order that Gov. Ron DeSantis issued on April 29, Media Relations Officer Brianne Grant said in an alert to the news media.

However, Grant emphasized, “[W]e are asking all beachgoers to maintain social distancing and keep groups to 10 or less.”

The restrooms at the county-operated beaches reopened on April 27.

As of Saturday, May 2, Grant also reported, county-operated pickleball and tennis courts will re-open.

For a list of open courts, visit http://ow.ly/h2HF50zoY8x.

County staff is researching opportunities to open some additional amenities, including but not limited to playgrounds, dog parks and basketball and volleyball courts, Grant noted.

This is a frequently-asked-questions publication from the Office of the Governor, providing information about the April 29 Executive Order. Image courtesy Office of the Governor

Grant did stress that concessions, playgrounds, amenities and picnic shelters will remain closed. Staff has planned their reopening as part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she wrote.

During an April 30 Facebook Live interview, Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, pointed out that it will take time to remove all the barricades to beach parking lots. Thus, the lots will have to remain closed over the weekend, she said, asking for patience from the public.

Rissler pointed out that the Mobi-mat, which makes it easier for those with disabilities and others to make their way onto the beach, will be in place first thing Monday at Siesta Key Public Beach. Additionally, beach wheelchairs will be available, she said.

Turtle Beach Campground will remain closed through May 17, Rissler continued. Staff is working on reopening that facility with reduced capacity for visitors, she added.

This section of Executive Order 20-12, issued on April 29, emphasizes continued adherence to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Image courtesy Office of the Governor