CLEARWATER — Earlier this week, the city told residents it would immediately stop picking up yard waste and bulk trash items.
Then on Thursday, the city reversed course. Kind of.
The city said in a news release it would offer yard waste and bulk item pickup from April 6 to April 10 — and then indefinitely suspend the service. Residents who want those items picked up by the city should have them out by their curbs by 7 a.m. on their normally scheduled pickup days.
City spokeswoman Joelle Castelli said after the city first announced it would no longer pick up yard waste, staff fielded numerous complaints from residents. After April 10, the city will stop picking up yard waste and bulk items “until further notice,” Castelli said.
The city initially said it was making the service change in part because the solid waste crews that usually collect yard waste are unable to remain at least 6 feet apart while they do their job. Those crowded working conditions defy the social distancing recommendations prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health experts say social distancing is crucial to fighting the spread of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel form of the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, 47 Florida residents in Clearwater have been reported to have caught COVID-19, according to data provided by the state.
Curbside recycling and trash pickup will continue like normal, the city said. However, recyclables will be routed to Pinellas County Waste-to-Energy Plant because of a failure at a different recycling processing center.
And recycling at multifamily complexes like apartments will be temporarily discontinued, according to the city website.
For more information about how the city is handling COVID-19, check Clearwater’s website here.
This story was updated two days after its initial publication to include the change in city policy.
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