COVID-19 Related Updates: What You Need to Know

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UPDATED FRIDAY, JULY 24, 11:30 A.M. EST

Your Health and Safety Are Our First Concern

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our visitors and locals. If everyone does a few simple things every time we go out into the community, we can ensure that people stay safe and our local businesses and economy remain open and thriving. Please: #1 wear a mask or face covering over both mouth and nose; #2 stay a safe distance (at least six feet) from others who aren't in your traveling group; and #3 wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. 

New Mask Ordinance

In order to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community, Pinellas County (St. Pete/Clearwater) has passed a mask/face covering ordinance which is now in effect. Both citizens and employees at local businesses must wear face coverings in most indoor places, with a few exceptions. These exceptions include:

  • The mandate can't conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • If a person is under age 18, the decision is left to the discretion of that person's parent, guardian or an accompanying adult
  • The new face covering mandate doesn't apply to government entities such as schools, courthouse or city halls, though those entities are encouraged to develop protocols to ensure the safety of the public and their employees
  • People can exercise indoors in gyms, yoga studios, etc. without a face covering, as long as they are physically distancing - please note, though, that health experts recommend outdoor exercise or exercise in your own hotel room or vacation rental home as a safer alternative to the gym
  • Restaurant, brewery and bar patrons can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage, as long as they are seated at a table and observing physical distancing
  • Religious activities (such as singing) are permitted provided that physical distancing is strictly maintained
  • Retail employees aren't required to wear face coverings if they are working in an area of the business that is not open to customers, as long as they observe physical distancing measures

St. Pete/Clearwater Guidelines & Status by Business Type

Our local beaches, attractions, museums and businesses are allowed to open, with specific guidelines in place for health and safety. Find the details below. Please be aware that while most businesses are allowed to open - some may choose not to do so at this time. It's a good idea to check first before heading out.

Beaches: Open

Beaches throughout St. Pete/Clearwater are open. Parking lots and restrooms are also open. CDC safety recommendations are to keep six feet or more between you and others who are not in your family or group. The CDC also recently recommended that beachgoers wear masks at the beach, except when swimming. Even if you choose not to do this, please bring a mask or face covering to wear in areas such as the concession stand line or public bathrooms, where it is more difficult to keep your distance from others. Beachgoers shouldn't gather in groups larger than 10 people. Before you head to one of St. Pete/Clearwater's beautiful beaches, please read our helpful tips on visiting the beach responsibly. 

Community and Hotel/Resort Pools: Open

Hotel and resort pools are permitted to be open without capacity restrictions. Community, apartment, condo and other pools are also open without restrictions. If you're considering visiting a public pool (county or city-owned), call ahead or go online for updates before heading out, as many have limited access at this time.

Resorts, Hotels & Motels: Open

Resorts, hotels and motels are permitted to be open. 

If you choose to stay at a hotel or motel, be aware that new health and safety protocols are likely to be in place, with extra-thorough cleaning of public areas and guest rooms, as well as physical distancing measures on-property. 

Vacation Rentals: Open with Restrictions

At this time, St. Pete/Clearwater vacation rentals are permitted to resume accepting reservations and check-ins. Property owners and managers will receive comprehensive guidelines outlining safety and sanitation measures that must be followed for each vacation rental to open. 

Restaurants: Open with Restrictions

All restaurants are allowed to be open for take-out and curbside pickup service. In addition, restaurants can seat patrons inside at 50% of their capacity (not including employees), with physical distancing. Whether inside or outside, restaurants must position chairs and tables so that dining parties are separated by at least six feet. Outdoor seating will be unrestricted in terms of capacity, as long as physical distancing is observed. Some local restaurants have expanded their outdoor space to accommodate more diners in the open air. Seating is now permitted at restaurant bars, but patrons must be seated. Patrons cannot stand at the bar or otherwise congregate.

Restaurant staff must wear face coverings at all times (indoors and outdoors) while on duty, even when they are not customer-facing. This includes staff who prepare food and drinks.

At this time, good options are ordering take-out or choosing a restaurant that offers outdoor dining. A few tips on restaurant protocol: 1. if you must wait for a table, keep a safe distance from other parties who are also waiting; 2. wear a mask while walking through any part of the restaurant (you can remove your mask at your table); 3. use hand sanitizer after reviewing the menu and before eating; 4. be patient and generous with your wait staff.

Breweries & Bars: It's Complicated...

A recent state-wide ruling prohibits local breweries and bars from serving alcohol on-premises at this time. While they are not required to close, in practicality, many will. Some bars and breweries will offer to-go drink options.

However, that ruling doesn't apply across the board to all bars and breweries - those with food permits can legally be designated as restaurants and allowed to operate under the guidelines established for restaurants (see the restaurant information, immediately above).

Brewery and bar staff must wear face coverings at all times (indoors and outdoors) while on duty, even when they are not customer-facing.

For a list of breweries that are open at this time, scroll down on this page.

Nightclubs: Closed

At this time, nightclubs remain closed.

Parks & Preserves: Open

Pinellas County parks are open.  In addition, state parks in St. Pete/Clearwater - Honeymoon Island, Anclote Key, Caladesi Island and the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers are also open. The Caladesi Ferry is now operating. City parks are open at the individual municipalities' discretion. However, city parks in St. Pete and Clearwater are open.

Expect that parks may have limited hours and/or amenities. For example, parks with nature or interpretive centers may choose not to open them at this time. Please check online or call for the specific status of a park you'd like to visit before heading out.

Professional Sports - Permitted, with Restrictions

Large spectator sporting events will be permitted, at up to 25% capacity.

Entertainment Businesses: Open, with Restrictions

Entertainment businesses such as bowling alleys, arcades, movie theaters, concert halls, playhouses and auditoriums are permitted to operate at 50% of building capacity, as long as they have appropriate physical distancing and sanitation measures in place. Face coverings are required, according to the guidelines described earlier in this article.

Pari-mutuel facilities may be open after written approval through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Other Businesses and Community Institutions that are Open 

These businesses are now permitted to open at full capacity, if they are able to follow physical distancing guidelines and proper sanitation measures. Face coverings are required, according to the guidelines described earlier in this article.

  • Retail stores 
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Gyms, fitness centers, yoga and dance studios
  • Public playgrounds
  • Personal services businesses, such as nail salons, barbershops, hair salons, cosmetology specialty salons, tattoo services and massage services. These services must follow safety guidelines outlined by the Department of Health.

Guidelines on Group Gatherings

The Governor's reopening plan recommends that group gatherings be kept to 50 people or smaller. 

Attractions and Activity Openings

Here is a list of what we know is open at this time. This list is not comprehensive, so calling ahead to each attraction is recommended. If a location needs to be added or updated, please email [email protected]. Face coverings are required, according to the guidelines described earlier in this article.

Breweries that are Open

Here is a list of what we know is open at this time. This list is not comprehensive - so, if there's a brewery you'd like to visit that's not on this list, check online or call ahead for more information. If a location needs to be added or updated, please email [email protected]. Face coverings are required, according to the guidelines described earlier in this article.

Attraction, Museum and Park Closures

Here is a list of area attractions, museums and parks that are currently closed: 

Transportation Updates

  • St. Pete Looper Trolley (PSTA has restored service to the South Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley as well as the Downtown St. Petersburg Looper)
  • Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley: Service includes 7 day/week service on two routes from Clearwater mainland to the Beach plus service to North Coastal cities of Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. Fares are suspended until further notice. Face coverings (masks) are required. 12 passenger limit to encourage social distancing. Visit www.clearwaterjolleytrolley.com or www.psta.net website for updates.
  • PSTA (www. PSTA.net): Major bus routes are operating regular service with all other routes running limited service. Fares are suspended until further notice and boarding is requested through the rear doors. Face coverings (masks) are required. 12 passenger limit to encourage social distancing. All service ends at 10pm. Visit www.psta.net for updates.
  • Clearwater Ferry Water Taxi Services. Limited capacity of 10 guests per run. (Route to Dunedin has been canceled as of 6/3)
  • Caladesi Island Connection Ferry Service. Open every day at 9 a.m. from the dock on Honeymoon Island.
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA) has collaborated with Flagship Janitorial Cleaning Services to deploy several new technological devices to increase its airport cleaning protocol. For example, the TPA’s newest robot software ensures the airport’s handrails are continuously sanitized, requiring minimal manpower. TPA also plans to install “smart restroom” software from TRAX Analytics to gather information on restroom cleanliness by monitoring restroom traffic flow. Other sanitation-related technology will include:
    • Kaivac: Used for restroom cleaning and disinfecting, this system allows for touchless cleaning of restroom floors and large surfaces using a pressure washing method.
    • Karcher misters: This sprays disinfectant evenly on all surfaces, which allows to clean large areas in short periods of time.
    • Victory electrostatic sprayers: With positively charged particles that evenly adhere to surfaces, these will be used to disinfect touchpoints and surfaces such as elevator buttons and tabletops.
    • T7 Autonomous auto scrubbers: The auto scrubber is programmed to scrub an area while the employee can perform other duties.

Events Updates

  • Firestone Grand Prix (rescheduled for October 23-25, 2020)
  • St. Pete Pride (in-person events have been canceled for 2020)
  • John's Pass Seafood Festival (scheduled for October 23-25, 2020)

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel to St. Pete/Clearwater During COVID-19

  • Are the beaches open? All Pinellas County public beaches and public beach parking areas are open.
  • Are hotels open? Yes, hotels are allowed to be open. However, some hotels may decide to close or reduce operations - please check with your individual hotel.
  • Will I get a refund for travel if my hotel is closed? Contact the hotel you've booked for specific refund information.
  • Are restaurants still open? Yes, at the restaurant's discretion. Many are offering takeout or delivery service. Dine-in service (either inside the restaurant or outdoor dining) is also permitted, with some restrictions. We've compiled a list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery.
  • Who can I call if I have questions related to COVID-19? The Department of Health's 24-hour hotline is 866-779-6122. The Pinellas County Citizen Information Center can be reached at 727-464-4333 from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m
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