Canes Covering Coronavirus, Florida

Beaches reopen, but parking restrictions impact handicapped visitors

Nicole Bozkurt
Sarasota, Florida
2 p.m. Sunday, May 3


Beaches reopen, but parking restrictions impact handicapped visitors

Beaches reopen, but parking restrictions impact handicapped visitors

Joggers, walkers, surfers and bikers fled to Siesta Key’s beaches on reopening day, causing a swarm of birds to retreat to the ocean.

The birds floated along the clear blue water, waiting for a human to leave a towel so they could come snatch up whatever snack crumbs were left behind. The birds waited and waited, but no one sat in the sand as Sarasota County officials watched to make sure the public was up and moving.

Siesta Key’s beaches opened strictly for “essential activities” on April 27 after being closed for nearly a month. County officials decided it was best to keep public parking closed in an effort to discourage tourists from traveling to the county’s beaches.

Sarasota prepared for a public backlash as more chatter about the parking ban began to travel throughout the county. What about the federal Americans With Disabilities Act?

Title 2 of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities and services of public entities. County officials are arguing that their provision of beach wheelchairs is enough to subdue the angry residents.

But, without a place to park, residents are refuting the parking ban as it prevents disabled individuals from being able to get to the beach in the first place.


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May 13, 2020

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