Lee County Opens Beaches


Dawn to Dusk Hours Starting April 29

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted unanimously to open county-owned parks and beaches, effective Wednesday morning, April 29. County-owned beach parks will be open dawn to dusk, their usual hours. Park hours are posted at each park. Parking will be open, as well as free-standing restrooms, which will be cleaned throughout the day. Dog parks will be open. Some county libraries, including Lakes Park Library, will open only for patrons to pick up materials that have been reserved in advance by phone or online. Playgrounds, pavilions, rec centers, piers, pools and splashpads will not be opened at this time.

Lee County beach parks on Fort Myers Beach that are opening Wednesday include Bowditch Point Park, Lynn Hall Memorial Park, Crescent Beach Family Park and the county-owned beach accesses north of Lynn Hall Park. Dog Beach and Bunche Beach Preserve will also open Wednesday morning.

County Manager Roger Desjarlais gave a summary presentation at the beginning of the county meeting in which he stated recommended guidelines to proceed with reopening the county which include a “downward trajectory” of both influenza-like and COVID-19-like cases over the past 14 days,” have been met in Lee County. More testing is also part of those guidelines and Desjarlais admitted, “More testing needs to be rolled out.”

Members of the BoCC and Lee County Attorney Richard Wesch voiced concerns about the constitutionality of the April 27 Fort Myers Beach order to open the beach on Fort Myers Beach only to town residents from 7 – 10am effective April 28. Pointing out that the beach seaward of the mean high tide line belongs to the state, Wesch indicated that there is “no rational basis” to treat residents of Fort Myers Beach differently than other residents. BoCC Chair Brian Hamman asked for and received permission from the other commissioners to speak to Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy to “ask them to get on the same page” as the county to avoid confusion.

Full story to follow.