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Lee County beaches close

By Staff | Mar 19, 2020

Lee County has closed all county-owned beaches as of 6 p.m. Thursday to limit possible exposure to the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Fort Myers Beach Town Council on Thursday afternoon took a similar action, banning any person from accessing the beach, or sand, on its beachfront, including all private and public property along the beach. A fine of up to $5,000 will be issued to all violators.

The closure includes the Fort Myers Beach Pier, beach parking lots, restrooms and county-owned beach access points.

The county sites include:

* Beach Parks

* Bonita Beach Park

* Bowditch Point Park

* Bowman’s Beach Park

* Causeway Islands

* Crescent Beach Family Park

* Little Hickory Island Beach Park

* Lynn Hall Memorial Beach Park

* Matanzas Pass Preserve

* San Carlos/Bunche Beach Preserve

* Turner Beach Park

* Alison Hagerup Beach Park

* Andy Rosse Lane paddlecraft launch

* Boca Grande Beach Accesses

* Bonita Beach Accesses

* Dog Beach Park

* Estero Island Beach Access

* Matanzas Bridge Fishing Pier

County Manager Roger Desjarlais announced the closure using Centers For Disease Control guidance and at a time when many college-age students are on spring break or are in the area while taking online classes.

“While young people may not be as vulnerable to the symptoms of COVID-19 as older adults, they can be asymptomatic and spread the virus to others, including older adults and their own family members,” he said.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon in downtown Fort Myers, Lee County Commission Chair Brian Hamman, opened with a message to spring breakers remaining in the area:?Go home.

“The spring break party is over. We need you to go home,” Hamman said. “I want to talk to the parents of those spring breakers. ‘Call your kids. Get them to come home.’ The behavior that’s been going on related to spring break has absolutely violated everything that everybody else is trying to do with social distancing, and it’s unacceptable.”

The county will coordinate enforcement with the appropriate enforcement agencies.

The county also suspended LeeTran beach trolley and tram service effective 6 p.m. Thursday.

“The (county) beaches are closed,” said Lee County spokesperson Betsy Clayton.

For more information, visit www.leegov.com/covid-19 or for the locations of county-owned beaches, visit www.leegov.com/parks/beaches.