FORT MYERS, Florida – More people gathered on Fort Myers Beach for Memorial Day. There were a lot more people on the beach today than last year.
People were excited to be on the go as we got to the other side of the pandemic – with more people getting vaccinated.
People traveled from all over the state, like Nate Murillo from Hialeah.
âIt’s very quiet here. You know, everyone is very towards themselves, very likeable too. Very good energy, âhe says.
Jessica Naples came from Pennsylvania. She said her condition was very cautious about CCOVID-19. Just visiting Fort Myers Beach made her want to move here, thinking about what she was doing around this time last year.
âI was locked out. There really wasn’t much to do. I really couldn’t get out. So this year it’s really good not to wear masks because in PA you still have to wear masks. It is only open on June 28, âshe said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks outside or inside, but they encourage everyone to wear them when traveling on buses, trains and airplanes.
The increased traffic on Fort Myers Beach was also good news for local businesses – hotels, restaurants and other stores. Mango-Ritas owner Jason Ingream said more traffic means more money for his business.
âThis year is definitely better than last year. I would say we’re probably up – probably double what we had last year, because we were still six feet last year, âhe said.
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy said he noticed the increase in the number of people on the beach even before the vacation.
âI mean we’ve had a great season here this year, with Florida being open. And it’s just continued straight on. They tell me that a lot of accommodations are booked until next month. The whole month of June, âhe said.
According to the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau, occupancy rates in Fort Myers and Sanibel increased just over half a percent during the first quarter of this year – that’s for hotels , RV parks and vacation rentals. It went from 78.2% in 2020 to 78.8% in 2021. Mayor Murphy said he had seen it with his own eyes – more people were doing everyday things like going to the grocery store.
âI have never seen so many people as this season. It was amazing how many people were here, âhe said.