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Fort Myers Beach to open access for property owners on Mondays and Tuesdays

Posted at 11:19 PM, Oct 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-27 23:19:46-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Town leaders are lifting the restrictions for residents of Fort Myers Beach, now being allowed back on the island seven days a week.

This is after previously prohibited access on Mondays and Tuesdays to meet FEMA deadlines to pick up debris. But after a lot of pushback, Fort Myers Beach town leaders have opened the beach back up.

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy says the county gave that authority back to the City of Fort Myers Beach. It’s a move the council took into consideration after hearing an outpour from residents earlier this week.

The mayor made that announcement Thursday night in front of beach residents, who made their joy known with a round of applause. Access was originally only allowed to emergency and debris removal crews on Monday and Tuesday. The mayor is also asking Lee County residents to avoid the island so that clean up can continue moving as swiftly as possible.

“I’m pleading for people throughout the county, we’re going to welcome you back with open arms when the day comes but that day is not right now," said Murphy. "We need some room down there, some space, and I’m asking everyone to cooperate with us.”

Meanwhile, the fire department has lost its station and a few vehicles. On a normal basis, it has 11 to 15 first responders on the beach. The days after Hurricane Ian, there were more than 1,000 composed of teams from across the country. Now, they have a daily staffing of 80 people.

They also had some help from the Jacksonville Fire Department, a gift of a fire engine and an ambulance.

“On Tuesday, with unanimous consent of their council, approved the donation of a fire truck and an ambulance to the community of Fort Myers Beach," said Scott Wirth, District Chief of Operations for the Fort Myers Beach Fire Dept. "It’s odd being on the other side but it’s other people responding to our emergency.”

The mayor says there may be opportunities for future town halls down the line. He says residents can stay informed on the city’s Facebook page.