Business booms on Fort Myers, Sanibel beaches as red tide dissipates

Jack Gallagher, a Sanibel Island resident, said he is spending his holiday vacation in his favorite spot — on the beach and in the clear water.

“No more red tide,”¬†Gallagher said.

On Tuesday, Fort Myers and Sanibel beaches were packed with visitors from the North, like Bret King, who escaped the colder temperatures.

“From Indianapolis, Indiana,” King said. “35 [degrees] today there, so this is really nice.”

Restaurant owners on Fort Myers Beach, some who are too busy to even talk on camera, said they noticed an uptick in people this year. Neighbors said the roads are packed with drivers.

“It’s definitely busier this time of the year,”¬†Ted Blakeman said, a Fort Myers Beach resident. “I was here the week before Thanksgiving and it wasn’t that busy.”

Fort Myers Beach officials said, their island lost more than $12 million in revenue in August from the red tide. Sanibel and Captiva islands combined lost more than $15 million.

But, busy days like Tuesday are helping these businesses recover.

“Kind of just sees that everybody is coming back, everybody sees that it’s clearing out,” Gallagher said. “Everybody is running their business.”

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