Fort Myers Beach orders small rec businesses to close, beach remains packed

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers Beach. Credit: WINK News.

The beaches are empty in major South Florida cities Fort Lauderdale and Miami in the middle of spring break, as local governments there try to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). But there is at least one beach in Southwest Florida that continues to bring in the crowds, as the township moves to make some restrictions.

People were enjoying spring break Monday on Fort Myers and have been keeping the area packed since the weekend.

Meanwhile, the town’s code enforcement team has ordered small recreational businesses to shut down amid coronavirus fears.

One business owner who didn’t want to go on camera said the official who informed him warned that if businesses do not follow the directive, they risk losing their permits. The business owner said he’ll keep his doors open until he receives official paperwork from the town.

Meanwhile, popular resorts such as the Lani Kai are open for business for social gatherings.

“We are making sure that everything (is clean), and we are opening all the restaurants and the bars are open,” said Melissa Schneider, the Lani Kai marketing director.

Spring breaker Ryan Haney said he doesn’t understand why the town is putting restrictions on water activities but allowing crowds on the beach.

“Yesterday was super crowded,” Haney said. “It’s probably twice as many people as there were today.”

With the first restriction now in place on Fort Myers Beach, beachgoers believe more are coming.

“They shut down beaches, so I’m kind of thinking that’s the same thing that happens here,” Haney said.

“If the beach closes, it’s gonna be a real bummer,” visitor Sue Maloney said.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida Department of Health COVID-19 updates

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