Sanibel lifts restrictions for alcohol on beach, fines for masks

Published: September 29, 2020 11:17 PM EDT
Updated: September 30, 2020 2:59 PM EDT

Community members and visitors can now drink with friends on Sanibel beaches. It’s something that has been prohibited on the island since June.

That’s not the only thing changing. Beachgoers won’t get a $50 fine for not wearing a mask.

The people we spoke to Tuesday said they’re happy to see restrictions loosen on Sanibel, especially with alcohol on the beaches and mask fines. But they also said, just because the fines are gone, that doesn’t mean we should ditch the masks.

A quick trip to Sanibel was a way for Dennis Diaz and his family to escape Miami for a few days. Diaz is happy he can enjoy an adult beverage as well and wants everyone to be responsible.

“It’s nice. You know, I’m a father. I have a family, so all I have is one or two,” Diaz said. “But, you know, we’ve gotta be conscious and throw away the bottles and, you know, protect wildlife and people.”

Everyone we spoke to is happy to hear their coolers of alcohol are welcome back on the sand.

“That’s been nice. Even down at the resort, we’ve had a few cocktails on the beach,” said Alec Connett, visiting from Iowa.

Knowing they’ll escape a $50 fine without their mask makes some feel we’re getting back to normal.

“It is what it is,” Diaz said. “It’s been a long time like this. There’s no, there doesn’t seem to find a cure for it, so we’ve gotta keep living.”

The island also got rid of its $200 parking fine for parking violations. The parking tickets have gone back to $50.

“Now that we know a little bit more, and it’s up to people to be responsible to make decisions for themselves but others first,” John Jordan said. “And if they’re capable of doing that, I think it’s a good thing to remove the restrictions especially the penalty of the fine.”

But as a COVID-19 survivor, Jordan isn’t completely ready to ditch the mask. He’s keeping it close for his protection and everyone he might pass by.

“Out of respect for those others,” Jordan said. “That’s why I have to remind myself it’s not just about me. It’s about those around me and my neighbors and other people that I try to look out after.”