Coronavirus: City of Marco Island closes its public beach access
Following the lead of Collier County, the city of Marco Island announced it will close its public beach access until further notice starting Thursday. The impacted beach access are Madeira and Crystal Shores.
"Closing public access points does not keep all citizens or residents off the beach," according to the news release sent Thursday. "What it does accomplish is limiting the number of beach-goers which is consistent with the public health guidelines regarding social distancing and mass gathering."
Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance, approximately 6 feet or 2 meters, from others when possible, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
"In order to limit exposure to COVID-19, the public is encouraged to follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines and to practice social distancing. The City of Marco Island is closely monitoring all developments related to COVID-19 and will provide additional updates as they occur."
Residents’ Beach on Marco Island will close beginning at sundown on March 20, according to the Marco Island Civic Association's website.
"MICA agreed to close the Residents' Beach parking late this morning consistent with my recommendation that they do so," said Marco Island City Manager Mike McNees.
The association also closed its office and the Sarazen Park at 930 Swallow Ave by South Beach.
"Marco Island Police Department officials are patrolling the beach to ensure social distancing guidelines are being followed," according to a news release sent Friday. "In general, the more civic responsibility there is in terms of guideline and order compliance, the less restrictive measures will have to be enacted by the government."
After announcing Wednesday that beach parking would be closed at county beaches, Collier County on Thursday went a step further to slow the spread of the deadly virus and closed county beach access points, starting at sunset Thursday. The closures included the beach access to Tigertail Beach and South Beach.
The city of Naples closed the Naples Pier and public beach accesses Wednesday.
While local governments took ever-more drastic measures this week to try to slow the burgeoning health crisis, stretches of Southwest Florida's beaches were not affected by the latest actions because they also have private access.
Marco Island declared on March 16 a state of emergency to ensure the health and safety of residents and visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida has now surpassed 400, according to Thursday evening's advisory from the state Department of Health.
Additional reporting by Cheryl McCloud, Brittany Carloni and Patrick Riley.
Omar Rodríguez Ortiz is a community reporter for Naples Daily News and Marco Eagle. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram as @Omar_fromPR, and on Facebook. Support his work by subscribing to Naples Daily News.