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‘Prisoners in paradise:’ Naples locals happy to have their beaches reopened

Beachgoers in Naples no longer feel like “prisoners in paradise.”

Locals are happy about the beaches opening back up and there are no obvious signs of anyone from the east coast making the trip to soak up the sun.

“We just couldn’t be happier,” said resident Judy Gobble.

Naples shut down the beach because city leaders feared people from Miami-Dade and Broward counties made the trip across the state, making the sand unsafe.

So reopening means new rules — no coolers, no tents, reduced hours on the weekends and you must continue to social distance.

“I think it’s a good compromise right now,” Gobble said.

“We’re so happy the beach is open again,” said Maryellen Evans.

She and Gobble live in Naples and are glad to have their beach back.

“It was so disappointing when they had to close them for a little while so we’re glad it’s open,” Evans said. “We don’t have to have tents and all sorts of things on the beach.”

All they needed was their flip flops for their early morning walk.

“Just taking a walk on the beach was so calming,” Evans said. “Hardly anybody here and everybody’s saying ‘hi’ to everybody. They’re just so happy to be back on the beach.”

Naples beaches now close at sunset. On the weekends, the hours are much more restrictive: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then 5 p.m. to sunset.

Those hours will be in effect on the Memorial Day holiday as well.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
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