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Fort Myers Beach keeps beaches open, masks required

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 19:17:38-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — As Florida continues to see a spike in Coronavirus case, celebrations for the 4th of July weekend are kicking off.

While parts of Southwest Florida have implemented beach restrictions, beaches in Fort Myers Beach are staying open, but people are required to wear masks.

In light of the anticipated crowds for this holiday weekend, the Fort Myers Beach Council mandated the use of masks until further notice.

Lisa LaRosa, a part-time resident of Fort Myers Beach, says this is a step in the right direction to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

"I think it is a good idea," said LaRosa. "The beach, you know, is easy enough where you don't have to wear them because you can be 6ft apart."

The emergency declaration issued Wednesday requires people to wear masks inside businesses and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.

It excludes children under six and people with medical conditions.

But not everyone agrees with the mask requirement.

"I don't like it. I'm still going to obey it, that's the law, and I believe you should obey the law," said Wayne Zasada, a visitor from Michigan.

But LaRosa says not everyone is following the mask mandate.

"In the stores, the workers are wearing them, but customers, they're not wearing them," said LaRosa.

Lillian Couch, an employee at Silver Witch, says she does see more people wearing masks now than before but not everyone does.

"I just ask them if they have one; if they don't I have to ask them to leave," said Couch.

"The store could get a $500 fine, and I don't want to inconveniences my bosses like that. But they would also get a fine," she continued.

People not wearing masks could face $50 fines.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office says it will be patrolling all beaches in Lee County on ATVs and with its aviation unit to ensure peoples' safety.