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Town set to decide fate of Fort Myers Beach’s July 4 weekend

Businesses on Fort Myers Beach are waiting to see if the town decides to shut down beaches or leave them open for Independence Day weekend. We didn’t have much time to chat with businesses as they got ready to shut down, but some said shutting down beaches is like cutting off a lifeline to them.

We spoke to vacationers and locals Tuesday on Fort Myers Beach, who are also wondering what their July 4 weekend will look like ahead of the town council’s decision.

“I think they should restrict it to Lee County residents only,” said Steven Guarnero in Fort Myers. “I don’t know how they would go about doing that.”

“I just think they need to come down and do crowd control, so it doesn’t get out of hand,” Said Erika Hestand from Texas.

Some people say it’s a late call.

“Well, that would be a real bummer,” visitor Skeeter Brenneman said. “I came all the way from Ohio to enjoy these beaches. I hope they don’t close them.”

“I came all the way from Texas to go to the beach, so I’ll be bummed if I don’t get to go to the beach,” Hestand said. “But I guess I’ll go to the pool.”

Others were questioning what is safer, being outdoors or indoors?

“If you can go to the big box stores, like, we can go to the beach and keep a safe distance,” said Paula Jenkinson in Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, Collier County is adding restrictions at beaches.

And, outside the region, Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe county beaches are effectively shut down all holiday weekend long.

“The last time a couple of months ago when they close up the beaches down in Miami, everybody came over for that, and that was just a madhouse,” Guarnero said.

Now, many people are sketching out a plan B.

“But, again, we have a pool at the condominium,” Guarnero said.

“Find somewhere else to swim I guess,” Brenneman said.

Lee County is reiterating it has no plans to close county-owned beaches this weekend.

Fort Myers Beach Town Council meets Wednesday when it could decide the fate of town beaches for the holiday weekend.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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