The Collier County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday morning and received updates from local and state officials regarding status of events concerning the COVID-19 outbreak within Collier County. County Manager Leo Ochs, hospital officials, State of Florida Health Officials and Sheriff Rambosk all updated the board on status and conditions within the county.
Having heard from them for approximately three hours they then began a long discussion as to how they believed the county should proceed on a number of issues. The most prominent of those issues lay with whether to open access to county beaches.
Just prior to that they would then hear from several residents, all of which implored the board to open up the county and return to “normal.”
Commissioner Andy Solis would touch on the subject of dealing with a non-resident influx to the beaches. The County Attorney would comment that a “choke point” to allow access would be in the available parking.
County Commissioner Penny Taylor, whose district covers the City of Naples would caution the board that the rumors that the east coast beaches have begun to reopen were not accurate. She would report that she had spoken to representatives from Miami, Miami Beach and Broward County saying they had not opened those beaches.
Taylor would also comment that she saw a real problem in trying to restrict access to non-residents. “It is a difficult enforcement issue,” said Taylor.
Commissioner Bill McDaniel would comment that “we aren’t giving our residents enough credit,” said McDaniel in discussing the issue of beach reopening. “Our residents have been responsible and should be given the opportunity. They have been abiding by the CDC Guidelines,” commented McDaniel.
Commission Chairman Burt Saunders would remind his fellow commissioners that the Governors Executive Order put the responsibility into the local jurisdiction’s hands in dealing with the issue. “Should we see there is a problem we could move forward to reverse an order opening them,” said Saunders.
The openings would include concessions and sanitary facilities. On Marco Island that would include Tigertail Beach and the Caxambas Boat Ramp.
The commissioners on a split vote of 3-2 would agree to reopen the Collier County Beaches starting this Thursday. Commissioners Saunders, Fiala and McDaniel would vote in the affirmative. Commissioners Taylor and Solis would oppose.
The board would be unanimous in supporting those Constitutional Officers within the county such as Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of the Court and Comptroller and Tax Collector to make their independent decisions of how to bring their offices back to a normal routine and the timetable for such.
They would also instruct the County Manager to reopen the County Parks, but not allow for organized sports. That instruction would include “hard-court” surfaces. Swimming pools and playgrounds will continue to remain closed.
MARCO ISLAND COUNCIL TO MEET THIS WEDNESDAY
A special called workshop of the city council will occur on April 28, on Wednesday to discuss moving forward regarding beach re-opening and how to receive an update on the COVID-19 issues.
Council will meet at 9am in council chambers, located at 51 Bald Eagle Drive. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast Channel 93 or 98, Summit Broadband Channel 97 or 98 or Century Link Prism TV on Channel 93. You may also go the city website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com and view it on the live steam on Marco Island TV.