City of Sarasota prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more, gives police power to cite violators

City of Sarasota prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more, gives police power to cite violators
Sarasota City Hall

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - After a city commissioner called for a curfew when videos emerged from over the weekend showing large house parties, the City of Sarasota is taking action.

Starting immediately, social gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited in the city. For those who do not voluntarily comply and “flagrantly violate social gathering restrictions,” a citation will be issued by Sarasota Police. That citation would be considered a second-degree misdemeanor.

We'll be partnering with our neighborhood associations & businesses to educate and encourage folks to follow CDC...

Posted by Sarasota Police Department on Thursday, March 26, 2020

“We want and expect the community to voluntarily comply during this public health challenge, and for the most part we are seeing that,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “This new directive will give our public safety officers an additional tool to keep our community safe and reduce the risk of spreading this highly contagious coronavirus. All should have gotten the message by now, and it’s simply time to be good neighbors and responsible citizens for the community’s good.”

The city added the prohibition while extending the local state of emergency through April 3. Officials say residents are also strongly urged to stay at home except for essential activities.

The city has already closed all park facilities and amenities, including playgrounds, basketball courts and tennis courts and closed all city buildings to the public.

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