These announcements were updated on April 16, 2020. Important information happening on and around Fort Myers Beach. Also included are links to resources regarding COVID-19.
Myers Beach Fire Department is an essential service and continues to provide fire protection and emergency medical service to the fire district. They are using additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to calls. They ask that anyone calling for assistance be clear with the 911 operator about all their symptoms so that the crew can arrive with the right PPE and offer aid efficiently while keeping everyone safe. Do not hesitate to call 911 in any emergency. The FMBFD is here to serve our community. For non-emergency questions about the Fire Department, call 239-590-4200
Beach Baptist – Feed the Beach
The Harry Chapin Mobile Food Bank will be at Beach Baptist every other Tuesday from 10am – 12noon providing a box of food with protein and shelf stable items, plus some produce. Anyone who needs food is welcome to stop by. Their next visits are planned for Apr 21, May 5 & May 19. On Thursday, from 10am – 3pm, the Choice Market food bank is open at Beach Baptist.
Beach Baptist offers to-go hot meals on SU from 9 – 10am (upstairs); WE at 5:30pm (outside) and TH 9 – 11am.
Lee Schools Grab & Go breakfast/lunch bags for kids up to age 18 are available for pickup at Beach Baptist from 9 – 11am MO – FR. No registration or school enrollment required.
Free Meals for Seniors over 60
The Senior Friendship Center is offering free, nutritious home-delivered meals to those over age 60. A box with 7 frozen or shelf stable meals is delivered once a week. Up to 14 meals may be requested from a menu that includes options such as lasagna, Tuscan pork, Chicken Verona and more. Recipients must be over 60 and enrolled in the Older Americans Act, which they can help with. To sign up for meals, call 239-236-8684. For more information on the program, see https://bit.ly/34FTaXn
The Fort Myers Beach Lions Foundation is accepting applications for their 2020 “WE SERVE” Scholarships until May 15. Applications can be found online at fmblions.com under “Lions Services.” Qualifying criteria includes, but is not limited to: Beach residency, GPA, career choices and community service record. Two special awards will be presented to top qualifying students: “Shirley Semmer” Award for humanitarian works and the “Fred Schmiesing” Award for athleticism. Information on application submittal is included with the application.
New council member and musician Bill Veach is working on a FMB Corona Virus Quarantine Song and asks that you send your videos, photos and suggestions to him at email@example.com. A look at his rough draft is here: bit.ly/FMBsong2
Help local hospitality workers who are out of work due to COVID-19, buy a #WeAreFMB t-shirt to help fund grocery store gift cards for those in need. This effort is being led by a team of local business leaders in partnership with Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation. Shirts and tank tops are $15 each ($21 if mailed) and can be ordered online at fortmyersbeachcf.com. They are also available at Skippers Liquors, Hoosiers in Paradise and Estero Island Medical Center. To apply for a gift card or donate to the cause email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website.
The shorebirds have the beach all to themselves as this year’s Shorebird Nesting Season begins. Regardless of when the beach reopens, the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area will be closed to people from April 1 – August 31 to allow the shorebirds to court, nest and fledge.
Troubled Waters Video
The documentary by the Calusa Waterkeeper about the health effects of Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB), “Troubled Waters” is now available for rental on Vimeo for $2.99 for a 2 day rental. The 40-minute movie includes interviews with local medical experts as well as leading HAB research scientists. A movie trailer and ordering info can be found at vimeo.com/ondemand/troubledwatersmovie
Small Business Grants
The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation is offering $5,000 grants to small businesses that employ 3-20 people. Applications available 3pm Monday, April 20 at savesmallbusiness.com
Have your W-9 ready. The grants are recurring, with one application. More information at savesmallbusiness.com
To apply for Florida unemployment assistance, go to www.FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication. This new site is mobile friendly, allowing applications from tablets and phones. Before applying for unemployment, have this info ready: Social Security number, Driver’s License or State ID number, employment info for last 18 months for each employer, Employer ID-FEIN # (from your W2 or 1099 tax form), employer name, first & last day of work, gross earnings (before taxes) covering the last 18 months, reason for separation. Governor DeSantis has waived work search, online work registration and waiting week requirements for Reemployment Assistance applications. A new DEO website, https://www.floridajobsresources.com, offers links to the Reemployment Assistance handbook and Claimant Guide, with informational videos, as well as a link to the new application website and a paper application.
The Friends of the Mound House Board is offering to deliver goods, food or medicine to Island residents. They can help you set up a grocery delivery service or if needed, pick up some things for you. If you need help, call Gayle at 651-336-9788 or Sue at 508-641-3405 or Ellen at 734-846-6903.
Food for Kids
The Lee School District is offering their Feeding Program while school is out. Any child under age 18 can pick up a bag with breakfast and lunch in it at Beach Baptist Church at Connecticut and Estero Blvd, between 9am and 12:30pm Monday – Friday.
The entire state of Florida is now under a Stay at Home order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, April 1 and effective until April 30 in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19. Those 65 and over as well as those with high risk health conditions are instructed to stay home. All others are to stay at home other than for essential activities and essential work. The list of essential businesses can be found at leegov.com
See fortmyersbeach.news for a current list of which restaurants on Fort Myers Beach are open for carryout or delivery service. The list is updated every Friday and Monday. In addition, these businesses remain open: Gavin’s Ace Hardware, Sun Hardware, The Goodz, and Publix. Did we miss one? Let us know at email@example.com
Beach Library Closed
The Fort Myers Beach Library is currently closed until further notice. Any items that are currently checked out will be renewed for the period they are closed, any subsequent fines will be waived for that period. The electronic book drop on the Bay Road side of the library will still be available 24/7 for items to be returned. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates will be posted on the library’s social media pages and also available by calling the main number 239-765-8162.
The next regular meeting of the Fort Myers Beach Town Council meeting is set for 9am, April 20. It will be a virtual meeting. The meeting will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 98 and on YouTube on the Town of Fort Myers Beach channel. Anyone who wishes to make public comment is asked to send their comments to PublicComment@fmbgov.com at least 30 minutes before the meeting. See the agenda at fmbgov.com for final information on ways to watch the meeting and participate. All advisory group meetings have been canceled.
Fort Myers Beach
The sandy beach is closed. The Fort Myers Beach Town Council has enacted emergency regulations calling on all those providing transient and non-transient accommodations to cease checking in people through June 26. Those that were already checked in by March 30 are allowed to complete their stay, but no new check ins are allowed. The order applies to all hotels, motels, resorts, time-shares, RV parks, condos and vacation rentals. All Town-owned property and associated activities are closed until further notice.
No Print Issue
The Island Sand Paper will not be publishing a print edition of the newspaper until further notice. We continue to cover FMB news and announcements on our website fortmyersbeach.news Follow us on Facebook for notifications of new articles. The print edition will be back as soon as our Island advertisers’ doors are open again.
The Lee County School District has announced that schools will be closed until May 1, 2020. Check with your school for online resources.
The beach tram and trolleys are not operating until further notice. Other LeeTran routes that run on a typical Sunday continue to operate. More information is available at leegov.com/leetran Passport service is not impacted by this change.
There are a number of emergency, disaster and bridge loans available for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the FMB Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 page bit.ly/FMBbizHelp for more information on qualifications and applications. Lee County has also provided information on small business loans at leegov.com/covid-19/business
Florida business information: floridadisaster.biz
The San Carlos Bay Sail & Power Squadron has selected their new officers. They are: Commander Sam Bonilla; Executive Officer Cliff Schmidt; Educational Officer Melissa Butler, Administrative Officer Gene Burson; Secretary Peggy Reiss, Treasurer Andrea Battaglia; Assistant Treasurer Kathryn Considine and Assistant Educational Officer Gordon Bloom. The local chapter of the United States Power Squadron serves boaters in southern Lee County through education and fun events. Their boating classes including a basic boating class, America’s Boating Course, and their popular Local Waters – Local Chart, will resume in December. For more information on the San Carlos Bay Power Squadron or their classes, visit scbps.com
United Way 211: General information about COVID-19 and related impacts – reach helpline by dialing 211 or 239-433-3900 between 8am-6pm.
Lee Health: COVID info page