Charlotte County beaches busy as they reopen; leaders stress caution is necessary

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Englewood Beach on April 27, 2020. (Credit: WINK News)

The first Southwest Florida beaches reopened Monday morning as Charlotte County is letting people back on to Port Charlotte Beach and Englewood Beach.

It’s an exciting day, but county leaders say we need to be cautious.

Even though the beaches are reopening, the Charlotte County sheriff said this isn’t the time to let our guard down.

“Through this whole pandemic, we continue to educate people and that’s all we want to do, is to educate. The last thing we want to do is charge anybody. But I mean if push comes to shove and somebody really wants to challenge it, we’re going to have to do what we’ve got to do, and we don’t want to do that,” said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell.

Commissioner Bill Truex said that from day one, they have had people anxious to get back on the beach.

Truex said people have been stressed, and getting outside is a great way to alleviate that. But that means continuing to social distance and following those guidelines.

Ultimately, people’s actions are what will decide if these beaches stay open.

“So I think it’s a great day; it’s a day to be excited about and I also think it’s a day to invoke caution,” Truex said.

“The folks out there need to have personal responsibility. I tell people if you’re fearful of going to the beach, don’t go to the beach. But I’d rather be in an outside setting like a beach than I would be in Publix or any of the big box stores.”

Beach parking is free and bathrooms are closed.

Truex also said they will be discussing reopening fishing piers and golf courses in their meeting Tuesday.

Manasota Key’s recent beach renourishment project also gives beachgoers twice as much room to spread out.

As of April 1, 2020, they have placed 569,616 cubic yards of sand along approximately 2.5 miles of Charlotte County’s shoreline.

Brian Gleason, spokesman for Charlotte County, said, “People have plenty of room to distance themselves, and enjoy the beach and this beautiful weather.”

Embracing the open air, refreshing Gulf, and Southwest Florida’s natural beauty.

Englewood Beach on April 27, 2020. (Credit: WINK News)

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