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Longboat Key Monday, Jun. 1, 2020 4 months ago

Longboat Key reopens parking at beaches

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Public beach parking in Longboat Key had been closed since March 21.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The town of Longboat Key on Monday reopened parking at its 12 public beach access points.

Town Manager Tom Harmer’s latest executive order also reopens the Overlook Park and Quick Point parking lots.

The town’s beach parking lots had been closed since March 21 to stop the spread of COVID-19.

About half-dozen cars were parked at the beach access point on North Shore Road.

Longboat Key is a community where 69% of the town's nearly 7,000 full-time residents are older than 65. In May, Harmer said he takes the town's demographics into consideration before making a decision whether to reopen.

“I think it's really just being extra cautious because of our situation out here with the elderly population, minimizing interaction from others, not encouraging an overabundance of visitors to interact with our vulnerable population and so being extra careful, is one of the guiding principles that we're using and that I'm using,” Harmer said. “We do observe what others are doing around us.”

Nearby beaches reopened last month. To the north of Longboat Key, Manatee County commissioners dropped two-hour parking limits on May 13 at county beaches. To the south, Lido Beach reopened to the public on May 19.

Harmer's order also further loosens restrictions at the Longboat Key Tennis Center. Tennis lessons are now available when courts are available, and includes non-members.

On May 18, the tennis center’s hours of operation were extended and the facility began offering singles-only tennis lessons. The facility reopened May 8 to single-play only for tennis center members after it closed on March 22.

The town’s Recreation Center at Bayfront Park remains closed until further notice. The closures include the park’s classes, playground, basketball, pickleball and tennis courts.

Town facilities, including Town Hall, remain closed until further notice. Town staff is available by calling (941)316-1999, by email or by appointment.

Harmer’s newest order is expected to be re-evaluated no later than June 15.

Note: This story will be updated throughout the day.

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

See All Articles by Mark

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