On second thought, Beer Can Island is closed to everyone

Yesterday, the owners hoped to keep it open to just their members.
Beer Can Island is now temporarily shut down.
Beer Can Island is now temporarily shut down. [ Times (2018) ]
Published March 21, 2020

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TAMPA — Yesterday morning, the owners of Pine Key, better known as Beer Can Island, decided to close their 11-acre boating destination to the general public but keep it open to those 650 people who purchased memberships that entitle them to amenities such as access to private parties and overnight camping.

But by late Friday night, they changed their mind and decided the spread of coronavirus was too severe.

Beer Can Island is now closed to everyone.

“Difficult as this is, we must do everything we can to stop the spread and we do not have the resources to properly enforce measures like distancing,” owner Cole Weaver texted the Tampa Bay Times. “It saddens us to do this. We are all looking for some sense of normalcy, but we also do not wish to be a source of stress for the already overwhelmed county, state and medical professionals dealing with this crisis. We will open the island at the very first opportunity.”

About two years ago, Cole and three friends bought the 11-acre spoil island at the southern edge of Hillsborough Bay, between Apollo Beach and MacDill Air Force Base.

The previous owners used it as a place to dump sand dredged for decades from their marina basin but boaters flocked to the island on weekends.

The new owners have added portable toilets, trash cans, a small stage and a floating tiki bar the size of a tennis court.

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