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Businesses worried after downtown Fort Myers area considered COVID-19 hot spot

Downtown Fort Myers and surrounding areas shows up as hot spots on Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard Monday. Meanwhile, the beginning of the week saw the lowest number of reported positive coronavirus tests in the past four days statewide, with 5,226.

We spoke to businesses downtown to hear what they had to say about being in what is now considered a COVID-19 hotpot.

Business was starting to look up at Wise Guys Deli in downtown Fort Myers. But, with positive cases spiking again, owner Martin Drexler says business is sinking once more.

“We’re back at where we started in March and April,” Drexler said.

Drexler says he and his staff have been doing everything they can do to make sure everyone that comes in stays safe. But he says business has been declining for about a week. Now, he’s worried downtown Fort Myers and surrounding areas being considered hot spots will only make matters worse.

“It’s going to hurt the businesses, Drexler said. “All of them are going to be hurt by this in every aspect.”

Robert Haawkes, the director of the FGCU physician assistant program, says the increase in cases isn’t necessarily coming from the businesses in the area but the people going to the businesses.

“People will come in from other areas to obviously frequent those establishments and then they leave,” Hawkes said. “And, if they contract COVID-19 at one of those bars or establishments, they may leave the area of downtown Fort Myers go to the surrounding communities.”

Drexler hopes this doesn’t scare anyone from getting a bite to eat.

“It’s tough,’’ he said. “I really gotta reconsider everything now.”

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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