Sarasota Opens Beach, Experiments with Road Closures

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY MAY 21, 2020

Beaches closed during the pandemic were eventually all closed after a flood of bad press around Spring Break. But Sarasota County reopened its beached to pedestrians, followed by Manatee County Commissioners. And this week, the City of Sarasota became the last to lift restrictions, opening Lido Beach while still encouraging use of face masks. 

"I'm happy to see Lido open again," said City Commissionwe Hagen Brody. "The beach is our gem and it supports a lot of local families who work on St. Armands."

For Memorial Day weekend, the city will experiment with street closures to allow businesses downtown to expand into the street and accommodate more outdoor dining. starting at 4pm Friday and Saturday, and then all day Sunday and Monday, the 1300 block of Main and a stretch of State Street from a city garage to Lemon Avenue will be closed to cars.

“We’re doing everything we can to help our local business community quickly get back on its feet and adapt to these unprecedented challenges,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “We’re taking the opportunity to experiment with street closures, and we encourage the public to shop and dine locally and enjoy our beautiful downtown in a safe and responsible way this holiday weekend.”

The city has already allowed many restaurants to expand outdoor seating onto sidewalks and parking areas owned by businesses or landlords. Mayor Jennifer Ahearn-Koch said officials have carefully looked to ways to let life continue in the city conscious of the fact to novel coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic may be around for a long time.

“A vaccine is far away. Herd immunity is far away,” she said. “The best we can hope for is to continue to social distance as much as we can so we can slow the spread until we have treatments.”

Photo courtesy Visit Sarasota County: Lido Beach

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