NAPLES, Fla. (WFLA) – Naples beaches are shut down once more amid the coronavirus crisis as thousands flocked to the sand and sun on Saturday.
Naples councilman Gary Price led the charge to temporarily close the beaches after they saw massive crowds.
“It was just packed. I mean there were clearly way too many people for the area,” Price told 8 On Your Side.
Price said he received a photo of the packed beach from a friend before driving over to see for himself.
The Naples city manager issued an emergency order, closing the beaches as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday until further notice.
“We worked very hard to get the beaches open, let people go enjoy the sunshine and I’m a big fan of that. But I’m also concerned… It looked like the 4th of July and I know we have at least 40,000 people on our beach for the 4th of July. So It may not have been that big, but it was pretty significant,” Price said.
He said Naples residents are positive about the closure. He believes many of the folks who took to the crowded beaches were from out of town.
“Since we’re in love bug season, most of the cars in the parking lots had a lot of love bugs on them,” Price explained. “And what’s interesting, if you drive around Naples, and our average speed is probably 10 miles an hour, you’re not going to get love bugs on your car. So it tells me that people are coming from other places.”
City council will meet Monday a 1 p.m. to discuss the closure.
Price said he is going to suggest keeping the beaches open during the week, with time restrictions on the weekends.
“The problem is, people like me have a job and I don’t get to go to the beach during the week, so I’m kind of looking out for those people who, like me, have to work for a living. If we start tying up, restricting the weekends each time, it’s really not fair,” he said.