COVID-19 Related Updates: What You Need to Know

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UPDATED JANUARY 19, 2021 at 11:25 A.M. EST

Your Health and Safety Are Our First Concern

At Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our visitors and locals. So we ask that everyone does a few simple things every time they go out into the community, so that 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. 

Mask Requirement

To slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community, St. Pete/Clearwater (Pinellas County) has a mask/face covering ordinance 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 (please note that this is a county-wide guideline for indoor spaces, however, some local attractions and activities have their own requirements)
  • 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 open, with specific guidelines in place for health and safety. Find the details below. Please be aware that while most businesses are open - some may have chosen to remain closed temporarily, or may have limited operations. 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 recommends 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's more difficult to keep your distance from others. Before you head to one of St. Pete/Clearwater's beautiful beaches, please read our helpful tips on visiting the beach responsibly. As we approach our late winter and spring busy season, please consider choosing a quieter beach where you will have more room to spread out. You'll find great options in our Best Hidden Gem Beaches story.

Community and Hotel/Resort Pools: Open

Hotel and resort pools are 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 some have limited access at this time.

Resorts, Hotels & Motels: Open

Resorts, hotels and motels are 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. Some may have additional safety measures in play, such as "grab-and-go" breakfast (rather than lobby continental breakfast), limited elevator capacity (please practice patience and wait your turn) or limited housekeeping, to reduced the amount of time staff members are in guest rooms.

Vacation Rentals: Open

St. Pete/Clearwater vacation rentals are accepting reservations and check-ins. Property owners and managers are expected to follow safety and sanitation measures necessary during this time. Airbnb and similar companies have enhanced safety protocols and cleaning protocals that are required of all properties in their programs.

Restaurants: Open

Restaurants are open for dine-in, patio dining, take-out and curbside pickup service, at their own discretion. Many restaurants are positioning chairs and tables so that dining parties are separated by at least six feet. Some local restaurants have expanded their outdoor space to accommodate more diners in the open air. Patrons must wear a face covering indoors except when seated and consuming food or drink. Service 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 waiting for a table inside, walking through any part of the restaurant and while in the restroom (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.

Please note that while Governor DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday, September 5, removing specific requirements (such as capacity limits) from Florida businesses, individual counties and munipalities may choose to put their own guidelines in place. The information above represents current guidelines for Pinellas County (St. Pete/Clearwater).

Breweries & Bars: Open

Bars and breweries are open for seated service only.

Brewery and bar staff must wear face coverings at all times (indoors and outdoors) while on duty, even when they are not customer-facing. Standing at bars and breweries is not permitted (patrons must be seated to be served).

Customers must wear face coverings except when seated and consuming food or drink and while distanced six feet from other parties. 

Please note that while Governor DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday, September 5, removing specific requirements (such as capacity limits) from Florida businesses, individual counties and munipalities may choose to put their own guidelines in place. The information above represents current guidelines for Pinellas County (St. Pete/Clearwater).

Nightclubs: Open

At this time, nightclubs are open, though some may choose not to do so. The same restrictions listed above for Breweries & Bars are relevant to nightclubs.

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. City parks in St. Pete/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 are permitted, at up to 25% capacity.

Entertainment Businesses: Open

Entertainment businesses such as bowling alleys, arcades, movie theaters, concert halls, playhouses and auditoriums are allowed to operate at full capacity. Face coverings are required, according to the guidelines described earlier in this article for inside spaces.  

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 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.

Transportation Updates

  • St. Pete Looper Trolley PSTA has restored service on all routes, including the South Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley, the downtown St. Petersburg Looper, and the Central Avenue trolley which runs from downtown St. Pete to St. Pete Beach. All rides are free. Passengers are required to wear face masks while aboard.
  • 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. All rides are free. Masks are required and there is a 12-passenger limit to encourage physical distancing. Visit clearwaterjolleytrolley.com or psta.net websites for updates.
  • PSTA All bus routes are operating regular service. All rides are free. Boarding is requested through the rear doors. Mask are required and there is a 12-passenger limit to encourage physical distancing. All service ends at 10 p.m. Visit psta.net for updates.
  • Clearwater Ferry Water Taxi Services. Limited capacity of 10 guests per run. Both the Clearwater and Dunedin routes are running Thursday through Sunday. Reservations are required for all routes to limit contact and ensure your spot. 
  • Caladesi Island Connection Ferry Service. Open every day at 9 a.m. from the dock on Honeymoon Island.
  • Both Tampa International Aiport (TPA) and St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) have enhanced cleaning and safety protocols in place. Get all the details on both airports here.

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 open.
  • Are restaurants open? Yes, most restaurants are open (though some may choose not to open at this time). 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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