Since cancellations and closures on Sanibel began mid-March as a precaution to the COVID-19 pandemic, the reopening process has commenced on the island. The following is an overview on the status of reopening as of May 22:
Beaches & Parking Lots
Although Lee County reopened Bowman’s and Turner beaches and Causeway Island Park on April 28, Sanibel’s paid beach parking lots are closed until June 1. However, the city reopened two non-beach parking lots on May 19 at Roadside City Park and for the Pond Apple Park Trailhead at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Restrictions have been loosened on island accommodations, which are permitted to accept reservations under the state-approved Lee County Safety Plan as of May 21. Hotels, motels and timeshares must maintain 50 percent occupancy.
Restaurants & Retail
Food establishments have been approved to operate at a 50 percent indoor capacity and the city has authorized additional outdoor seating. Retail shops are also allowed to operate at a 50 percent indoor capacity, as are museums and private fitness centers.
Barber Shops & Salons
DeSantis permitted barber shops, hair and nail salons to reopen on May 11 under mandatory restrictions that include accepting clients by appointment only, allowing 15 minutes between appointments for proper disinfecting, and requiring employees to wear face masks.
All Island Businesses
All places of business serving the public have been strongly encouraged to follow the SanCap Safe guidelines recommended by the islands’ Chamber of Commerce and ordered to adhere to Center for Disease Control instructions to help slow the spread of the virus, including face covering protocols when proper social distancing can not be practiced.
While COVID-19 testing has increased throughout the state this past week, the number of confirmed cases on Sanibel has remained at 11 since May 7. The overall percentage of positive cases in the state is 6 percent, according to the Florida Department of Health. The highest number of cases – 22,670 of 50,127 – were due to contact with confirmed cases.
The FDOH releases daily reports that can be found at floridahealth.gov.