Will SWFL beaches shut down again?

Published: June 27, 2020 6:06 PM EDT
Updated: June 28, 2020 6:43 AM EDT

Beaches in Naples and throughout Collier County reopened earlier this month after being shut down as part of coronavirus precautions.

Saturday’s COVID-19 cases topped out statewide at 9,585, with 500 new cases reported in Southwest Florida. The rising numbers are leaving many wondering if there will be a second round of shutdowns.

If they do close down the beaches, how will it be enforced? Some worry that people will once again head over from the East Coast, where beaches in Miami-Dade are going to be closed for the Fourth of July weekend.

“If they close the East Coast beaches, which I guess they have, and they’re coming back over here, it’s going to be very tough to enforce that. Law enforcement is going to have to really get on it to make sure everybody stays properly distanced because they weren’t before,” said Peter Jenks of Naples.

Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted Saturday that health officials from counties across Florida are predicting the peak of this current surge in cases to fall between July 15 and 23.

Miami-Dade has already made the decision to shut down its beach again. Ingrid Lorenz of Miami said, “I understand since the numbers are going up of the COVID infections but of course it’s a little bit sad that the beaches are closing again but it’s good that it’s only for the long weekend.”

Will Naples and others in Collier County follow suit? One Naples resident is worried and thinks they should shut down because, with the upcoming holiday, many will be flocking to the beaches.

“I’m not going to come for the Fourth of July,” said Andres Pandilla of Miami. Because “most certainly it’s going to be more people at the beach.”

Jenks said, “This right now is a lot of East Coasters here now as I see it, so Fourth of July can only get worse.”

“That is a hot spot over there so everyone from Naples of course is concerned about that,” he said.
Currently, representatives of the City of Naples and Collier County have no plans to shut down the beaches.