Yet another holiday in the pandemic and both vacationers and staycationers are packing Southwest Florida’s beaches. However, many health officials worry that the crowded beaches on Labor Day could lead to another spike in COVID-19 cases.
Many who were out on the beach on Monday said they felt comfortable and safe. You could witness the laughter, joy and relaxation taking place on Lowdermilk Beach.
Jason Gibson works concessions at the beach and says he enjoys seeing crowds like this. “It’s a very big day it’s…this weekend, for most all the restaurant owners and retail, it really saves your month,” said Gibson. “Strong crowds, strong crowds.”
But, with these crowds comes the concern of another spike in cases, according to health officials. This is as ICUs across NCH are filling up with patients. Kristine Hollingsworth is with the Florida Department of Health in Collier County and worries about seeing so many people out on the beach.
“It does seem that during holidays or gatherings, if you will, where people tend to get together via Labor Day weekend, Fourth of July, or other times where people tend to get together, we do see an increase in cases,” said Hollingsworth.
However, visitors, like Kim Scafini, don’t seem worried about the crowd size. “I kind of worked through the pandemic so this is kind of I’m not I’m not shocked by the crowds right now I’m actually kind of, I kind of like it. I kind of like to see everyone back together,” Scafini said.
“We were at Vanderbilt Beach yesterday and everyone was very very close together but we kind of went out to the side you know we like our space anyway,” said Scafini.
George Baker was able to beat the crowds for the most part. He found his spot in the sand early but wasn’t bothered when crowds started to form.
“No ma’am. They don’t bother me I enjoy people,” said Baker.
DOH-Collier says we won’t know if this Labor Day Weekend causes a surge at least for a couple of weeks. For now, COVID-19 cases in Collier County are on the decline showing 122 fewer cases last week than the week before.