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Celebrating Thanksgiving on Naples Beach

One thing people in Southwest Florida are thankful for is the ability to spend Thanksgiving at our beaches. Plenty of people were out on the water and enjoying the sand near Naples Pier on Thursday.

Business owners hope people taking the opportunity to get outdoors on Thanksgiving will give them a financial boost for the holiday season.

WINK News reporter Gina Tomlinson took to the beach and saw plenty of people social distancing and on the streets, people were wearing their masks.

Mike Milligan can’t help but think of his precious Nancy this Thanksgiving. “My wife and I used to come here all the time. She unfortunately passed away last year, so this spot means a lot to me,” said Milligan.

Mike spent Thanksgiving doing something Nancy would’ve loved: sitting in a chair, on the sand and enjoying the sun at Naples Beach.

He says Nancy had breathing issues, but since it was before there were official COVID-19 cases in America he can’t be sure it was that. “It was a breathing issue and it struck her very hard and quickly… It was a few months before COVID was officially noticed in the country, so the thought has gone through my mind,” said Milligan.

Because of the pandemic, Mike says he’s been extra careful. “Just thankful for still having my health,” he said. “Staying away from big groups of people.”

Though parts of Naples Beach did get a little crowded during the lunchtime rush, most families have still had plenty of room to social distance in the sun. Some were even sporting masks on the sand.

Colleen Dreher is from Naples. “All my family is down here from Wisconsin, so we are here to spend a few days and they are enjoying every minute of it,” Dreher said.

Restaurants were thankful to get business this year. Bistro 821 owner Jesse Housman said the tables were spaced out at his restaurant and he was excited that people were ordering. “Outdoor seating were doing some to-gos, and were sold out!” Housman said.

But he admits it’s been tough for him. “It’s been a really rough year, and everybody needs to make money, nobody sees the future as being certain,” said Housman.

So he was thankful to be working. Others were thankful to be with family.

Here’s what Adriana Nuanz is thankful for. “My family right now and how they’re all healthy during this,” she said.

“Happy Thanksgiving!” said Mike Milligan.

Naples Police say so far, no one has called about overcrowding at the beaches and that it’s been peaceful.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Drew Hill
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