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Coastal communities, tourist businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 17:18:02-04

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WTXL) — Just days after beaches were shut down across the county, Apalachicola is closed for business and many visitors were told they had to be out of their rentals by noon.

On Wednesday, Wakulla County commissioners called an emergency meeting after concerns that the decision to close Shell Point Beach was made without the majority of commissioners able to vote.

Up the coast in Franklin County, all hotels, motels and AirBnB's were told they had to close by noon in Apalachicola.

The move was made to help clear out the tourists that remained on county beaches that closed Monday.

This is all in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

City leaders say that although it will have quite a financial impact, it's necessary.

"It's unbelievably quiet for this time of year. It's a beautiful day. Normally we have tons of tourists coming in. We love our tourists. We're thankful for them. But just for public health we thought this was the best for elderly population people with health issues and even better for the tourist we have such a small hospital here we only have 15 beds."

In Wakulla County, the coast is clear following a state of emergency that included closing Shell Point Beach.

On Wednesday night, county commissioners are defending their decision to make that decision without the full board present.