Naples collected $500,000 in pandemic-related fines, looks to see if it still can

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein

The City of Naples is banking on hundreds of thousands of dollars for pandemic-related fines. But with Phase 3 of reopening ending fines for disobeying COVID-19 guidelines, the city is looking at how much more money it can collect on violations.

Naples has collected approximately $500,000 in pandemic-relate fines. Most of the money was made from $200 parking fines, going over minutes on the meter or not having a city parking pass. Some didn’t wear masks, and some even snuck under yellow tape when beaches closed.

But it turns out not too many authorities actually issued fines for ordinances related to pandemic restrictions in the city.

Naples issued nearly $800,000 in citations.

“What better place to shake the pockets than the people who actually have money?” Jim Payne said.

Community member Art Forsman say $200 fines kept crowds off the sand.

”We wanted to keep the spots here for our residents, not Miami and St. Petersburg,” Forsman said.

The city hasn’t lowered the fines after handing out nearly 4,000 citations.

One East Coast man who got charged says he won’t be back

Although Naples Police Department turned many away, only one person actually got a citation for being on the beaches when it got shut down.

“Why penalize people for doing what they like to do?” Forsman said. “Just say your illegal right now, get off the beach.”

Because the majority of fines are related to parking tickets, the city believes it will still collect the penalties, but is investigating.

The governor did suspend all unpaid fines related to masks.

“Maybe they should take those fines and take them off the tax payer,” visitor Teresa Emry said. “I mean, we pay enough taxes than most people do to live here.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.