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.
Safe Boating for Turtles
As Turtle Nesting Season approaches, Loggerhead turtles are breeding in nearshore waters. With higher boat traffic than usual due to boating being a favorite social distancing activity, boaters are asked to travel at idle speed within a half mile of the shoreline to avoid striking turtles.
On Wednesday night, April 8, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced a new website to sign up for unemployment assistance, www.FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication. The 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 # (is on 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.
The 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. Drive up to the white tent in the front of the parking lot. During the Easter holiday weekend, distribution will not take place on Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13. Families will pick up meals for Thursday, Friday & Monday on Thursday, April 9.
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 visit will be on April 21.
A hot breakfast to-go is offered at Beach Baptist every Sunday morning at 9am. On Thursdays from 10am – 3pm, Choice Market food bank is open for anyone living in the 33931 zip code area who needs food. Stop by with an ID or mail showing your 33931 address.
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 on the Leegov.com website or via the link below for Lee County Government.
See fortmyersbeach.news for a current list of which restaurants on Fort Myers Beach are open for carryout service. The list is updated every Friday and Monday.
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 email@example.com. 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 for the next 90 days, effective March 31. 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 printing a hard copy of the newspaper until further notice. All of our articles on Fort Myers Beach news will be published on our website fortmyersbeach.news Drop by and take a look at our virtual newspaper! 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 Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce has canceled or postponed all events in April and May, plus their Annual Swing Into Summer Golf Tournament, originally scheduled for June 5.
Any local restaurant with unused food is asked to contact Pastor Shawn Critser at Beach Baptist to arrange for pick up or delivery of your unused food. 239-247-1029. Donated items will be shared with those who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lee County School District has announced that schools will be closed until May 1, 2020. Check with your school for online resources.
Beginning WE, April 8, LeeTran has adjusted fixed-route schedules to a Sunday service only schedule. LeeTran will operate the modified schedule 7 days/week. Passport service is not impacted by this change. All routes that run on a typical Sunday, except for those routes previously suspended (beach trams & trolleys and Gold Line) will remain in operation. Any routes that do not normally offer Sunday schedules will not be in service until further notice. More information is available at leegov.com/leetran
Do your part to help local hospitality workers who are out of work due to COVID-19, buy a #WeAreFMB t-shirt. Monies raised from the T-shirt sales will allow disbursement of grocery store gift cards to those in need. This effort is being led by a team of local business leaders in partnership with Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation. Shirts are $15 and can only be ordered online at www.fortmyersbeachcf.com. For more information or to apply or make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fortmyersbeachcf.com.
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 for more information on qualifications and applications.
Lee County has provided information on small business loans at leegov.com/covid-19/business
Lee County residents are encouraged to complete their census form online as soon as possible. For the first time ever, the Census is available to complete online, over the phone or by mail. With three convenient options, it’s easy for Lee County residents to complete the Census without needing to eventually interact with Census staff. Those who do not complete a form will receive additional contact from census officials. All census field operations have been suspended, but the Constitutional directive remains.
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years. Each household should have received census information by mail with your unique address-related census number. Whether you still have that mail or not, you can go to my2020census.gov to complete the census questionnaire.
Estero Blvd. Tree Trimming
Florida Power & Light contractor Lewis Tree Service will be working along Estero Blvd from Santini Plaza south to Hickory Blvd though June to clear vegetation from FPL facilities.
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