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HEMPSTEAD, Nassau County (WABC) -- A total of 13 shark sightings since Monday have halted swimming at beaches on Long Island.

Two sightings were reported Saturday, and on Sunday, swimming is prohibited again as all eyes will be on the water.

Lifeguards were forced put out red flags and clear the water at Lido Beach on Saturday afternoon after seeing a large dark fin emerge from the water, seemingly going after prey.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin said the fin was spotted and a large splash was noticed. Some patrons in the water also noticed and began to run out of the water.

"The lifeguards immediately responded by 'red flagging' the waters and getting everyone out of the water," he said. "As of this time, our lifeguards are taking the precaution of prohibiting all swimming at Hempstead Town beaches until further notice."

A few hours later people were allowed to return to the water, but only up to their knees.

However, another sighting happened around 4 p.m. as all swimming at Hempstead Town beaches are closed until further notice.

*Beach Update (August 1st — 4:15pm)*

Due to a shark sighting by Nassau County Police, all swimming is now prohibited at Town of Hempstead ocean beaches from Civic Beach to Lido West beach until further notice.

— Town of Hempstead (@HempsteadTown) August 1, 2020
Clavin added that the town's new "shark patrol," including their jet ski, will continue patrolling the waters throughout the day and through the weekend.

On Friday, a Town of Hempstead lifeguard with the newly formed Shark Patrol spotted the shark off Lido Beach just before 4 p.m., halting swimming at all Town of Hempstead ocean beaches from Civic Beach to Town Park Lido West beach.

The Shark Patrol consists of Jet Ski watercraft and the deployment of a team of lifeguards on a Bay Constable boat to monitor the waters as needed during this period of shark sightings. Nassau County also has enhanced helicopter patrols and intensified marine ocean patrols.

There were three sightings each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, along with one Thursday and the most recent one Friday.

"It's not yet known if these sightings are the same shark, or different sharks," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Meantime, TJ Minutillo, 21, of Manhasset, showed up to the press conference and shared his amazing story of reeling in a bull shark at Nickerson Beach in Nassau County.
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Another shark sighting pulled swimmers out of the water Thursday, raising the number of instances to 10 since Monday.

He said he caught the shark using a Sea Robin Fly and hooked it right after sunset on Saturday, July 18. Then, he engaged in a two and a half hours long battle with the 8-foot-long beast, before reeling it in with the help of his friends.

"I've been doing a lot of land based shark fishing for five or six years," Minutillo said. "We hooked a bull shark and not a sandbar or sand tiger."

After posing for a series of photos, with both of the shark and Minutillo exhausted, he took the hook out with a pair of pliers and let it go.

"I didn't know the regulations on it," he said. "It wouldn't have been worth it to me, so I threw it back, catch and release, it's sport fishing."

The shark was confirmed by environmentalists to be a bull shark which they estimate weighed 300-400 pounds.

"I Think it's wonderful that you let it go, it was the kind thing to do," Curran said to Minutillo.

After he was done speaking, Curran posed for a photo with Minutillo.

Watch: Lifeguard describes shark sighting
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East Atlantic Beach lifeguard Connor Byrne describes the aggressive bull shark he saw just feet away from swimmers.

"It's a very difficult time down here," Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said. "It's a combination of factors, as I stressed to everybody. We have a pandemic, we have a 50% capacity at the beaches, we have the hottest days of the summer, and we have had shark sightings that are clear cut."

RELATED: Woman killed in apparent shark attack in Maine
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Dan Krauth has more on the woman killed by a great white shark.

On Saturday, one beachgoer took a video of an apparent shark in Hampton Bays.

@SulikowskiLab this was close to Hampton Bays in Long Island this past Saturday. 6-7 feet. What do you think this shark is?

— Ismael (@ismaeldurang) July 28, 2020
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said it's possible that sharks may not be out at the exact point when they are looking, so swimmers should always listen to the lifeguards.

"The lifeguards between the Town of Hempstead, the county, and the state are experts at what they do," he said. "They are professionals. If they tell get out of the water, get out of the water, don't hesitate."

"I just want residents to know a bull shark is an incredibly dangerous creature," Clavin said. "People always hear about the great white sharks, well a bull shark is even more dangerous really to the swimmers in the South Shore. Why? These predators like to go to the shallower areas. They like to be closer to the coastline, where the swimmers are."

He added, "We want you to enjoy yourselves. We know this is a very hot period, but we want you to be safe...and if we see or hear of any other sightings, we will take the precautions necessary."

The Tuesday sightings came one day after three shark sightings Monday afternoon, with the first being a Town of Hempstead lifeguard who reported seeing a significant sized shark near a lifeguard on a surfboard.

They weren't sure of the exact size, but the shark was just eight to 10 feet away from the shore.

Authorities released a photo of a sea ray that washed up with enormous bite marks.

"By the shape of the head, shape of dorsal fin, fitness of the body, we determined it as a bull shark," Chief Town Lifeguard Mike Romano said.

The water temperature is now close to 80 degrees, and experts believe sharks are moving closer to shore in search of food.

RELATED: Extreme heat grips New York area

There have been at least 26 shark sightings in New York in the past 12 months.

With more people boating during the pandemic, the thinking is that's why there's been more reported sightings, while the actual number of sharks in the water is likely similar to previous years.

Fortunately, no one was injured by the sharks in the New York area.

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Tags: beaches sharks lifeguard town of hempstead out of the water shark sightings shark sighting nassau county a bull shark long island swimming at

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Lake of the Ozarks mayor defends crowds after town catches heat — again

Pandemic at the disco?

Viral videos of packed partying underway at waterfront clubs in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks led to a spike in tourism amid the coronavirus crisis — but not in new cases, according to a local mayor.

“You just think about what this has done for our economy and you just go, ‘Thank you folks,’” Lake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawski told local media.

In other parts of the country, the bar and restaurant industries have been decimated by coronavirus closures.

But widely circulated social media videos, taken on Memorial Day weekend and again on Saturday, led to national news coverage and the area’s tourism numbers doubled, Murawski told Kansas City-based Fox 4. The latest shows revelers dancing and drinking at an electronic dance music concert.

Missouri saw more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday alone, the outlet reported. And there were at least 1,200 new cases Tuesday, according to state health officials. But the three counties bordering the lake together have fewer than 500 cases out of more than 55,000 in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

Saturday’s event, an electronic dance music party, went on despite the originally scheduled performer’s cancellation, according to a post on the Shady Gators’ Facebook page. The host venue found a replacement and went on with the show.

In a post last week on the modified performance, Shady Gators said it was operating at half-capacity, even though as an outdoor bar it is not required to do so.

see also
Person who partied at Lake of the Ozarks tested positive for coronavirus One of the revelers at the wild, caught-on-video pool parties...

“An entire paramedic team” was on hand to give temperature checks to all visitors. Attendees were all provided with hand sanitizer, and a three-person team was tasked with cleaning “high traffic areas” and the venue’s bathrooms throughout the event.

Masks were “encouraged but not required.”

Shady Gators’ website advertised more weekend events. It has posted videos from other events to its Facebook page. Some show people who appear to be somewhat socially distanced from one another, but most are not wearing masks.

Murawski credited the media coverage and publicity of the lake’s waterfront bars for the surge in tourists, which he said surpassed 9.1 million visitors as of July.

And despite the increase in tourism, Murawski said the community has not seen a spike in coronavirus cases.

“We were worried – we thought two weeks after that [Memorial Day weekend] our counts are going to go up,” Murawski told Fox 4. “But they didn’t at all.”

But about 180 miles east, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, who is a doctor, said this week that some cases in his county have been traced back to the lake, the outlet reported.

Page criticized the Memorial Day video as “reckless behavior” and issued a travel advisory urging St. Louis residents who visited the Lake of the Ozarks to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Following the surge in visitors for Memorial Day, the Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms said state health officials would be responsible for enforcing COVID-19 rules.

“Social distancing is not a crime, and therefore, the sheriff’s office has no authority to enforce actions in that regard,” he said in a statement posted to his office’s Facebook page.

Although Missouri’s coronavirus guidelines are less restrictive than in some other states, Gov. Mike Parson is encouraging residents to observe social distancing, wear a mask and wash their hands.

“We need EVERYONE to take COVID-19 seriously, no matter how old you are,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Fox News’ Robert Gearty contributed to this report.

Filed under Coronavirus ,  missouri ,  8/5/20

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