Sanibel Takes Additional Steps Towards Reopening

SC Staff Report

Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to take additional steps in reopening Sanibel, since declaring a state of local emergency and enacting restrictions in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Sanibel remains under a state of local emergency, the latest proclamation lifted the 50 percent occupancy restriction on hotels and motels, as well as adopted Lee County’s second amended standards for vacation rentals with the additional restriction on stays by guests from identified high-risk areas. Those guests must stay longer than the quarantine period and adhere to the quarantine restrictions.

Councilman Richard Johnson said accommodation owners are committed to operating safely and saw no reason not to let them do what they pledged to do. Councilwoman Holly Smith, who has advocated for moderately phased reopening of accommodations, said it was time to lift the 50 percent occupancy restriction.

The proclamation also lifts the remaining restrictions on public parking, such as the non-resident B and C parking stickers, and allows special event permits for weddings. Furthermore, temporary outdoor merchandise displays are allowed by retailers through Labor Day, Sept. 7, to assist with proper social distancing, especially at the smaller shops.

However, a prohibition on the possession of alcoholic beverages on the beaches and other public areas, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, was adopted from June 6 through Labor Day. There will be a $500 fine per violation.

See the city’s full status of reopening, as of June 5.

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