FORT MYERS, Fla -- As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, businesses in Southwest Florida have another decision to make. They're trying to figure out how long to keep all the plexiglass up, which we saw installed at the start of the pandemic.
Fox 4 spoke with owners and customers in downtown Fort Myers to get their thoughts.
Of the dozens of businesses there, only a handful still have plexiglass up. We saw it at a coffee shop, the front desk of Hotel Indigo, and a retail store to name a few.
Many businesses in other parts of Southwest Florida are keeping it up for the time being as well. That includes Fort Myers Brewing Company in Gateway and a restaurant we recently featured for its comfort food in Fort Myers.
Others seem to have done away with this safety measure.
Business owners we spoke with said it can create challenges with hearing customers through the glass. But despite that and vaccine availability, they're not ready to take it down just yet, saying it's there for both customer and employee safety as the pandemic continues.
“Until we will feel safe and our customers too. So maybe it depends on vaccination, I'm not sure yet, I don't know,” said Sidonia Cernaj, one of the owners of Java House. “I think we will keep it in the long time,” added Ivan Cernaj, the other owner.
We have a post on our Fox 4 Facebook page asking you to weigh in on the conversation. We asked customers out and about downtown. They agree that the barriers should stay up for the time being.
“I think they do provide a little bit of safety,” said Marell Reed, Port Charlotte. “People are getting vaccinated, I'm vaccinated. But it is good to know and you know even back in the day if someone just sneezed or had a cold, that plexiglass would have made a difference, so I think it’s fine to be there,” she added.
“I agree. I pretty much feel the same,” said Kortney Reed, Port Charlotte. “You have less people wearing masks.”
“I would like to see a large portion of the population vaccinated and then I think we can go back to being more normal,” said Marell.
Other places, which Fox 4 wasn’t able to film inside, that also still have plexiglass up include local grocery and big box stores. We've also reached out to them to ask how long we might expect it to stay up there.