VENICE — The gathering of groups at Snake Island in the area of Roberts Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway was noticed — and is being ended as of Thursday.

West Coast Inland Navigation District authorities made the decision official Wednesday.

According to the agency, the island was closed as of 10 a.m. Thursday

WCIND Executive Director Justin D. McBride addressed the “extremely heavy boat traffic” in the waters and at the spoil island — especially on Saturday and Sunday.

After area authorities closed off beaches, the jetties along with playground equipment and basketball courts, some people took to the water and began gathering at the island.

“Public Health experts have consistently recommended avoiding close physical interaction in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the United States Centers for Disease Control amended their social distancing guidelines to suggest limiting any in-person gatherings to 10 people or less,” McBride wrote. “In light of the rapidly evolving nature of the spread of COVID-19, particularly the imminent threat posed by close social interaction and large gatherings, WCIND will be temporarily closing Snake Island to public access.”

The closure has no reopening date and is in keeping with the county’s March 20 Emergency Administrative Order that also closed Sarasota County beaches.

“This closure is temporary and will be lifted when the COVID-19 crisis has abated,” McBride wrote.

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