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Sanibel mayor talks about how they are protecting island residents

It’s already quieter on Sanibel. The beaches are closed and you can no longer rent a room at a hotel.

We asked Mayor Kevin Ruane how else they could be protecting full-time residents and if they would go as far as closing the only way on and off the island.

We’re not opposed to going to a hurricane pass situation like we had during the hurricane,” he said. “Without the pass, you can’t come out on the island.”

When it came to police being used to stop non-residents from entering the island, Ruane said they’re not looking at that as an option right now.

“But certainly, that’s not necessarily something that’s not going to be on the table or under consideration in the future,” he added.

Ruane says since the average age of full-time residents is 67, he’s trying to educate everyone on how to stay safe.

“We’re trying to embrace social distancing or educating our community, working with our local grocery stores, making sure they have the necessary tools, putting x’s on the bottom of their floors when you keep six feet apart. Again we’re trying to be as proactive as we can. I’ve said to my senior citizens, stay home,” he said.

So far, he says the three people diagnosed with COVID-19 on the island are doing okay and want to make sure the message of “stay home if you can” really sticks.

The mayor says they also had to furlough 47 part-time employees and hope to eventually bring them all back.

For Sanibel’s COVID-19 updates, click here.

 

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Briana Harvath
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