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Fort Myers Beach Council declares local state of emergency

By Staff | Mar 15, 2020

With President Donald Trump having declared a pandemic and a state of emergency due to the outbreak of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council declared a local state of emergency through April 13.

The Fort Myers Beach Council also canceled its shrimp festival and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In addition, the council announced that all special permits for large gatherings would be revoked including one for the Lani Kai to have a stage in order to hold fundraisers with the Cincinnati firemen.

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce President Jacki Liszak announced that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 16, has also been cancelled.

“It’s very disappointing for everybody,” she said on the cancellations. “I’m concerned for the Lion’s Club, I’m concerned for our businesses. I want people to know that our businesses and beaches are open.”

Vice Mayor Ray Murphy said the council will pay for all of the shrimp the Lion’s Club bought at a cost of approximately $7,000. The shrimp will be donated to charity, he said.

Murphy said the cancellation of the shrimp festival was “huge. It’s the first time ever. It’s devastating to the town and the businesses. It’s something as residents we look forward to each year.”

Liszak said that hotels and restaurants were busy. “We’re packed down here,” she said.

Melissa Schneider, director of marketing for Lani Kai Island and Resort, said she hadn’t yet heard from the town regarding the decision on its stage as of late Friday afternoon. Schneider said she “felt bad for the businesses” that will be affected by the cancelling of the shrimp festival, an important booster of tourism and commerce.

Schneider said Lani Kai has remained busy despite the coronavirus scare, with more college students staying longer due to some colleges cancelling classes.