Clearwater Beach hopes for a peaceful 4th

Clearwater, Florida -- Businesses on Clearwater Beach are bracing for another big holiday weekend.

On Memorial Day, the holiday started out well enough, but ended in gunfire.

Now, Clearwater police have promised a stepped-up presence for Independence Day and business operators say there's a lot riding on the officers being able to keep the peace this July 4th.

Suzie Martinez works at Aloha on the Beach, a souvenir and beach retail shop across the street from where one of two shootings took place Memorial Day. Her friend even took cell-phone video of the mayhem that followed.

Martinez's biggest business concern when it comes to beach visitors this July 4th weekend is that people will not be afraid to visit.

"If they're gonna be concerned that there's going to be something that happens. Something out there - or they don't feel safe out there," Martinez said. "Then they're not going to come out to the beach, you k now?"

Police have gotten that message loud and clear from businesses along Clearwater Beach.

There are only so many days of the year, say merchants, they can count on making the big bucks and July 4th is one of them.

Jerome Shippey, who is visiting from Illinois with his family, dropped about $100 on merchandise at Martinez's store.

"I mean, people start shying away and the money profits would go down," Shippey said.

The family just heard about the Memorial Day gunfire on Wednesday, but with the promised police presence more in line with what you would expect on spring break, they seemed confident everything would be fine.

"They're watching. If they see a conflict going on or something like Memorial Day happens again, they'll be out there stopping it," said Shippey's son, Zach.

Clearwater police say there will also be a zero tolerance for alcohol on the beach.

Marlyn Tracey, who runs a small convenience store called Anchor Mini-Mart across street from the beach, hopes that doesn't stick a cork in her booze business.

She doesn't think it will since already warns her customers that they face a fine of more than $100 if they get caught drinking alcohol along the beach.

"I tell them it's illegal to drink on the beach," said Marlyn, "but most of them say they'll go back to their hotel or – they'll do what they want."


Four arrested in Memorial Day shootings

Suspects in holiday shootings

Clearwater Beach remains tense

Businesses, tourists talk about violence

Tourist information


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