SANIBEL, Fla. — In an effort to boost local business and draw more visitors to the picturesque Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Lee County has temporarily waived the tolls on the Sanibel Causeway for Sundays during the months of August and September.
The decision seems to be paying off, as local restaurant operators and business owners report a surge in customers and sales.
Ron Rich, General Manager of Mudbugs Cajun Kitchen, expressed his observations, saying, "Sundays started out really good with people coming over the causeway with no toll."
He added that this toll-free day has allowed them to turn more tables and cater to more patrons.
Nehru Williams, General Manager of RC Otter's, echoed these sentiments, saying, "Sunday's been one of the highest, since they waived the toll."
Linda Leal, manager at Rosalita's Cantina, reporteds a 35% increase in business on the first Sunday tolls were waived. Since then, Sundays have consistently been their busiest day.
She also expressed optimism about the upcoming grand reopening of the Green Flash on Captiva, set for September 22, coinciding with another toll-free Sunday on the causeway.
Leal highlighted the importance of this toll-free incentive, saying, "We have a lot of customers that come in from Fort Myers, all over Fort Myers. They usually come here because they see there's no toll."
Despite ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian, Sanibel and Captiva businesses are extending a warm invitation to visitors.
Ron Rich emphasized, "People on Sanibel, everybody says to me that they don't want you out here. We want you out here. We want you to come out and enjoy Sanibel. Have a good time in Sanibel."