When are Southwest Florida Beaches Re-opening?

Fort Myers BeachSome Florida beaches are still closed but some are reopening with social distancing restrictions in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Collier County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to reopen the county’s beaches, including parking lots and restrooms starting at sunrise Thursday.

In Lee County, commissioners voted Tuesday to reopen county beaches and extend activities at public parks. Beaches will open from dawn to dusk beginning today. Parks will be open, but with some limits on activities during normal hours that can vary from park to park. No community park buildings will be open.

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council voted unanimously Friday to reopen beaches to the public starting Saturday and to adopt Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Phase 1” reopening plan.

The beaches will reopen with “strict enforcement” of social distancing guidelines, and the council also voted to open up beach access parking lots.

The vote comes after the town council decided during a special Monday meeting to reopen beaches to just island residents for three hours per day with limitations. The prior vote went into effect Tuesday.

The beaches were a hot topic among public comments made during the Friday meeting, which were read aloud after they were sent via email.

Some of the comments urged the council to fully open the beaches to the public, arguing that the beaches only being open to residents during certain hours is “unconstitutional.” One, however, argued that reopening beaches would lead to excess crowding on the island.

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