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Last public beaches in SWFL close to stop spread of coronavirus

All public beaches in Southwest Florida are now closed, with Englewood Beach in Charlotte County off-limits beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Englewood Beach was packed ahead on Saturday ahead of the mandated closure. Some people told us they arrived at 8 a.m. just to make sure they got a good parking spot and a good spot to relax. Everyone went to feel the sand between their toes before they won’t be able to for the foreseeable future.

“I’m kind of flabbergasted that people are still here and coming out,” said Mark Timchula, “The Beach Guy.”

Beachgoers flocked to one of the last one open beaches in the region.

But now, they’ll have to find somewhere else to hang out because Englewood Beach is shut down to help keep the coronavirus from spreading.

“Normally the crowd that is here today wouldn’t be this size, and it’s only because the other beaches have closed, and they have come here,” Timchula said.

As people were opening their umbrellas, Timchula, was packing his ahead of the beach closure. He closed his rental umbrellas and lounge chair business earlier this week.

“We wanted to be proactive and make sure that we were keeping our customers safe,” Timchula said.

In this case, Timchula says there is safety in less numbers and by keeping a six-foot distance.

Englewood and Port Charlotte beaches will be closed until further notice beginning 6 a.m. Sunday.

The communications manager for Charlotte County said anyone found on the beach after that time can be cited for trespassing.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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