VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The City of Venice has announced that Snake Island will be temporarily closing on Thursday starting at 10:00 a.m.
This comes in response to the emergency administrative order in Sarasota County that has closed all of the county’s public beaches due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The city says the closure is temporary and will be lifted once the coronavirus crisis has subsided.
The move follows a similar one in Manatee County. Tuesday, officials there announced that in addition to closing all of the public beaches, they would also be closing public boat ramps at 6am Thursday as well as restricting access to Beer Can Island.
Like beaches, Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur says they’re closing the boat ramps to keep groups larger than 10 from congregating and to prevent the shared use of spaces, such as gas pumps. Saur said that there are pictures of people having boat parties and those people have ruined it for everyone.
“These are the next steps needed to curb public gatherings,” said Saur. “For your families, for the community and for the medical teams working around the clock to stop this virus, now is the time to stay at home."
There is an exception for commercial fisherman who have a U.S. Coast Guard Six-Pack Captain’s License and a commercial fishing license.
“Commercial fisherman can use the south boat ramp on Coquina Beach and beach patrol will monitor commercial fisherman using that boat ramp,” said Saur.
The closure applies to all Manatee County-owned boat ramps along with Holmes Beach boat ramp at Memorial Park and Palmetto’s Riverside Park boat Ramp. Though Emerson Point Preserve will remain open, no vehicles or water vessels will be able to reach the sandy beach launch at the western end of the park.
In Sarasota County, officials have not taken action to close public boat ramps.