On Monday, March 16, the Town of Fort Myers Beach was sending out representatives to speak to Island businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, about following COVID-19 guidelines.
Town Manager Roger Hernstadt explained the reason for the outreach. “We are asking for voluntary cooperation and encouraging all restaurants and businesses to follow Florida State Health and CDC guidelines regarding spacing and number of people. Right now, that’s 6 feet apart and 50 or less people, but that may change.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on Monday afternoon, they recommend that for the next 8 weeks (through May 11), organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.
At 4:39pm Monday, the Town posted this notice on their website, fmbgov.com:
“Based on the prevailing advice and instructions from the federal and state health authorities, Lee County and the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council, entities with Town permits for outdoor special recreational uses are being suspended today to help prevent community spread of COVID-19.
Bars, restaurants and other private venues are being encouraged to take the recommended precautions and act responsibly so that they can continue to safely remain open to the public. Tactics to limit community spread of COVID-19 presents an evolving challenge and further actions may be taken if circumstances warrant.”
The Town of Fort Myers Beach also announced Monday that Bay Oaks Recreation Center building would be closed until further notice. The outdoor facilities are available from 7:30am – 6pm. All Town Advisory Committee Meetings have been cancelled until further notice.
During a late Monday press conference, President Trump encouraged people to avoid gatherings of over 10 people, avoid discretionary travel and avoid bars and restaurants.
Follow the Island Sand Paper for further information on local COVID-19 related responses and cancellations.