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Collier County prepares for busy, mid-pandemic Labor Day weekend

Labor Day weekend means a three-day vacation for many, and the beaches will be open, but coronavirus caution won’t be absent from the festivities.

”It’s a good place to come with family and kids,” said Daniela Ponc, on vacation from Chile. “In Chile, it’s very cold.”

Ponc also says she enjoys having fewer restrictions.

“We have a lot of quarantine,” she said. ”Because of the COVID and not to be with too many people”

Some hotels in Collier County, like the Turtle Club, are booked up, with no weekend reservations left at their restaurant.

”We need the economy to pick up down here,” said Carolyn Painter. She and her husband Joe live in Naples and remember the packed beaches on Memorial Day weekend when parts of the East Coast closed.

”Yeah, that was crazy,” Joe Painter said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that bad,” Carolyn Painter said.

And despite fewer COVID cases here lately, restaurants still want customers spread out at tables. Hotels also have safety restrictions in place.

”I would think that they would keep up with the sanitizing and everything if they want to have people stay here,” Painter said. And she hopes visitors play by the rules, too. ”Social distancing, not trash the beaches. Because it’s paradise here.”

On Marco Island, the city says no groups of people larger than 10 will be allowed on the beaches. They will have extra patrols out to monitor parking and traffic to make sure visitors abide by safety guidelines for the busy holiday weekend.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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