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Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 30, 2020 5 months ago

Sarasota County to reopen beach parking, tennis courts

County leaders also are looking at plans to reopen basketball courts and dog parks.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Sarasota County will open its parks and some hard-court facilities as early as Saturday and beaches  — with lifted restrictions except for social distancing — on Monday, May 4, county leaders said today.

The county previously opened the beaches with restrictions April 27, but parking will now be available and chairs, coolers and canopies also will be allowed on the beach. 

“Our citizens have been so fantastic with following CDC guidelines and social distancing," Nicole Rissler, director of parks, recreation and natural resources. "We just ask that they continue to do that as we move forward.” 

The decision comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plan to slowly begin reopening the state on Wednesday. Leaders said with more counties throughout the state opening their beaches, there would be less of an influx to Sarasota County. 

County staff will work over the weekend to remove barriers blocking the lots, which will open at 6 a.m. Monday. 

"It wasn’t easy to close the parking for beaches, it’s not going to be overnight that we can open it," Rissler said. "We just really ask our community to be patient with us."

Residents are still asked to maintain social distancing and keep groups to 10 people or less. 

Concessions, playgrounds, amenities and picnic shelters will remain closed, though bathrooms will be open. Beach wheelchairs also will be available.

Lido Beach, which is city-owned, remains closed. Longboat Key beach access points likewise will remain closed.

Tennis courts and pickleball facilities, as well as parking for the facilities, will open on Saturday morning. 

County staff also is looking at the possibility of opening additional amenities such as playgrounds, dog parks, and basketball and volleyball courts. Additionally, leaders hope to open the Turtle Beach campground with reduced occupancy in the third phase of reopening.  



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