Dunedin officials say even sunset watching can be perilous

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri used this photo of people congregating during sunset at the pier at the Dunedin Marina as an example of how difficult enforcement can be. While it appears in the photo people weren’t being compliant, he said the gathering was comprised of several small groups of family members, so it was acceptable, even if it didn’t appear to be.

DUNEDIN — Something so serene as a beautiful sunset can contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

That is, if people don’t give each other space when they watch the evening spectacle.

City Manager Jennifer Bramley said at a Dunedin City Commission meeting March 31 that many people enjoy watching the sunset at the pier at the Dunedin Marina.

"We closed down the playgrounds. We closed down the beaches. Where do the people go?" she said.

Sheriff’s deputies were at the marina pier Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. On Saturday night they found more than 10 people there, but they were practicing social distancing, family groups for the most part, Bramley said.

“It is difficult with the number of people there to practice social distancing,” she said.

She wants to convey to residents to “help us, help you.”

“You got to stay social distance away. If you are out someplace and there are already eight or nine people there, move on. Go someplace else. We want the boat ramp to remain open. We want the pier to remain open. But we can’t do that unless people practice social distancing,” Bramley said.

City officials and sheriff’s deputies will keep monitoring the situation, she said, and have put signage out.

Golf clubs

Meanwhile, signage at the Dunedin Golf Club reminds people to practice social distancing. The golf club is making a strong effort to make sure everyone adheres to those guidelines, City Commissioner Jeff Gow said.

Bramley said the golf courses in Pinellas County remain open, and city officials have committed to follow the county protocol.

“The cities want to approach this uniformly. You can’t close some golf courses and not others. They have to all go, or not go,” Bramley said. That's our current position in the city of Dunedin, although we do appreciate the concerns of some of the residents and we will continue to talk to them and do our best to comfort them.”

Discussion that morning covered a large variety of topics pertaining to the virus, such as the impact it is having on city’s effort to haul debris away.

Many residents are working on their yards so there is a lot of landscaping debris to be picked up, Bramley said.

"Our guys have to pick all that up. They are maintaining contact daily with the recycling vendors, temporary labor agencies and the landfill to make sure they all stay open and the situation is fluid," Bramley said.