Lee County moved to open county parks, beaches, free-standing restrooms and their parking lots this week. Playgrounds, pavilions, recreation centers and pools are still closed. Beach park hours are dawn to dusk.
State of Florida
Governor DeSantis announced on WE April 29 that Phase One of reopening Florida would commence MO May 4. This includes allowing restaurants to open outdoor dining areas, keeping 6 ft between patrons, and indoor dining at 25% capacity. Retail stores may reopen with 25% capacity also. Bars, gyms, hair salons and barbers will remain closed. Visitors to senior facilities remain prohibited.
Fort Myers Beach
The beach is open to FMB residents for wish to walk, run, bike or walk their dog from 7 – 10 am each morning. Town Council meets on FR, May 1 at 9am to consider changes to these emergency regulations. Town Hall lobby and offices are closed to the public until further notice. Town offices can still be reached via phone or email. Call 239-765-0202 MO – FR 8:30am – 4:30pm for assistance. Bay Oaks Rec Center, Beach Pool, Newton Park and Mound House are all closed until further notice. Lodging facilities may begin taking reservations and resume occupancy on May 15.
See “Fort Myers Beach Carry-Out” for a current list of which restaurants on Fort Myers Beach are open for carryout or delivery service. The list is updated every Thursday. In addition, these businesses remain open: Gavin’s Ace Hardware, Sun Hardware, The Goodz, and Publix. Did we miss one? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to a severe drought, Lee County has announced mandatory restrictions on landscape watering effective immediately. Landscape irrigation is restricted to one day per week for all parts of Lee County, including Fort Myers Beach. If your address ends in an even number, you may water on Sunday. If your address ends in an odd number, you may run your irrigation on Wednesday. All landscape irrigation is prohibited between 9am and 5pm.
The Lutgert College of Business at FGCU is offering a virtual outreach panel presentation this week. “Best Practices for Nonprofit Leadership during the Current COVID-19 Pandemic” will be offered on FR May 1 from noon – 1pm. Both events are free and open to the public, but participation is limited and registration is on a first come; first served basis. More information and registration is at bit.ly/isp5001
Town Advisory Committees
Are you a resident of the Town of Fort Myers Beach who is interested in serving as a volunteer to advise and support Town government? Islanders are encouraged to get involved and bring new and fresh ideas by serving on one of the Town’s eight citizen advisory boards and committees. Volunteer members are currently sought for the Community Resource Advisory Board (CRAB) and the Local Planning Agency (LPA). Appointments are made when vacancies occur and annually in October for all vacancies as terms expire. Visit bit.ly/isp25 to learn more about advisory committees or to apply.
SFWMD Lands Open
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has reopened several District-managed lands for active recreation only (hiking, biking exercising). Activities that don’t allow social distancing are prohibited, such as camping and picnicking. SFWMD-managed lands include Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) and Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. For additional information visit SFWMD.gov/recreation
Kennedy Space Center Series
SPAC-ED, a free, online educational series, designed to engage grades K-12 or adult space enthusiasts, is available from the Kennedy Space Center in May, many with an interactive activity. Topics include crewed launches, aeronautics, straw rockets, building a Mars rover, and more. The interactive videos are posted at noon each weekday on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Facebook or Instagram. Past videos are available on YouTube.
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. To order shirts and tank tops ($15 each, $21 if mailed), and to apply for a gift card or donate to the cause visit www.fortmyersbeachcf.com. They are also available at Skippers Liquors, Hoosiers in Paradise and Estero Island Medical Center. You can also email email@example.com.
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.
The next drive-thru food distribution of food supplies from The Harry Chapin Mobile Food Bank will be at Beach Baptist May 5 & May 19 from 10am – 12noon. On Thursday, from 10am – 3pm, the Choice Market food bank is open at Beach Baptist.
It’s shorebird nesting season! The Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) and Carlos Point/Castle Beach temporary refuge has been posted for active nests. Wilson’s plovers, snowy plovers and Least terns have all been seen in those areas and several nests are active. The Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area is closed to people from April 1 – August 31 to allow the shorebirds to court, nest and fledge. An FWC biologist will monitor the CWA and Carlos Point areas each day through the end of August. The Florida Shorebird Database includes a report on 2019 nesting in the CWA and Carlos Point areas: “On Carlos Point, there were 18 snowy plover nests, one Wilson’s plover nest, a large colony of least terns in the temporary refuge (250 nests) and a colony of black skimmers (57 nests). On Little Estero CWA, there were 13 additional Wilson’s plover nests and one small least tern colony (10 nests). More than half the Wilson’s plover and snowy plover nests were successful; the colonies suffered some predation but still produced fledglings by the end of the season.”
To protect the nesting shorebirds, do not walk in any posted areas or in the CWA. Keep all pets away from the area. Dogs are never allowed in the CWA, but may be on other parts of the beach with 6ft leash. Anyone planning to photograph the nesting birds, should do so only from a long distance with a zoom lens. For more information about nesting shorebirds visit bit.ly/FWCShorebirds
Sand Paper Online
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 here our website. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for notifications of new articles. The print edition will be back as soon as our Island advertisers’ doors are open again. You can also sign up to get a reminder in your email every Friday morning that new articles are available!
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 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.
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
Friday, May 1, 9:00am: The FMB Town Council will hold a Special Meeting via Zoom to review the public health and safety action taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by reviewing the April 3, 2020 Declaration of Emergency Regulations #4. Public comments should be sent via email to PublicComment@fmbgov.com before 8:30am Monday, April 27. The meeting may be viewed on the town’s YouTube channel or Comcast channel 98. Additional instructions on viewing or participating in the meeting are available on the meeting agenda at fmbgov.com
Monday, May 4, 9:00am: The FMB Town Council will hold a regular meeting via Zoom. Meeting details available on the agenda at fmbgov.com
Thursday, May 7, 9:00am: The FMB Town Council will hold a Management and Planning meeting via Zoom. Meeting details available on the agenda at fmbgov.com