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Fort Myers Beach closes beaches to stop COVID-19 spread

Posted at 11:43 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 23:45:25-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, FLA — Thursday night was the indefinite end of "business as usual" on Fort Myers Beach, for many looking to escape coronavirus anxiety.

This comes after the town finalized plans to close the beaches earlier in the day.

"The beach front is closed," said town Mayor, Anita Cereceda.

The town council made that decision to help stop the spread of COVID-19, during a peak in vacation season.

"If you are here on spring break thank you for thinking of our community and please continue to think of our community and go home. You need to be in your place so we can protect our place," said Cereceda.

The town says deputies and code enforcement will be patrolling, to give out warnings and then fines of up to $5,000 dollars to repeat offenders.

But the mayor is hoping it doesn't get to that point.

"The goal is not to put anybody in jail or as you heard give somebody a $5,000 fine. That's not the goal," said Cereceda.

It was tough news to take for some of the areas smallest guests --

"I want the beach open soon," said a young tourist.

And for those who are repeat visitors.

"We've been coming for the last eight years, yes and it's one of our favorite spots to come. It feels like home when we're here," said Sherry Wiper, who was visiting from Canada.

But despite the disappointment most people we spoke to say they "get it."

"We're understanding. We think that everyone is working their butt off to do the best thing for everyone," said Cassie Gudek, who was visiting from New Hampshire.

"We just hope everyone stays safe and healthy and that we can minimize the number of cases in the united state and Canada," said Wiper.