Starting Monday, access to Fort Myers Beach will be restricted to workers at the beginning of each workweek, and it does not matter if residents with hurricane passes want to come and go.
The leaders of Fort Myers Beach are determined to restore the town to the tourism hub it was almost three weeks ago. To do that as quickly as possible, the island will be off-limits to everyone except for essential workers on Mondays and Tuesdays, to speed up the restoration of services and infrastructure.
The town has completed its house-to-house search for victims of Hurricane Ian. Now it’s full speed ahead on getting rid of all the debris and rebuilding the water and sewer systems and roads. The fewer people on the island, the better.
Mayor Ray Murphy says the town will never forget those who died and will honor their memories as Fort Myers Beach begins rebuilding.
“We will build back better, build back stronger; the town of Fort Myers Beach will rise from this rubble, much the same way the World Trade Center site did and today is a beautiful site with memorials to their deceased and buildings that continue to do commerce in NYC,” Murphy said. “We will rise again as well. It will take time, but it will be through the cooperation of all of our people on the beach and the assistance of everywhere we can get.”
While the island will be restricted to essential workers on Mondays and Tuesdays, residents of Fort Myers Beach and their hired contractors will be able to access the island Wednesdays through Sundays, but only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Ron Martin made it clear, however—the island is not a safe environment right now.
“Please keep safety a priority if you are working to clean up your properties,” Martin said. “That includes avoiding contact with potentially hazardous water sources, practicing safe generator use—which includes having a carbon monoxide alarm, which the district is distributing throughout the island—and being careful with tools you’re using and cautious on all surfaces you are walking on.”
Fort Myers Beach and Lee County want to make it clear: They can complete the work they need on the island much faster if everyone sticks to this new schedule until further notice.