Fort Myers Beach Re-Entry Preparedness Guidance Issued Town Closure Partially Extended Oct. 7, 2022

The Town of Fort Myers Beach, in partnership with the Fort Myers Beach Fire District, is preparing to welcome back residents while extending a portion of the closure of the Beach following Hurricane Ian. Big Carlos Pass Bridge will remain closed to all for several more days. However, Matanzas Pass Bridge will re-open to select traffic within the next 24-48 hours.

While town leaders are finalizing plans for a phased re-entry, residents are being offered guidelines to prepare for that re-entry.

“We understand not being able to start your own recovery has been frustrating, but we appreciate the cooperation and patience you’ve shown while efforts to locate our friends and neighbors continue,” said Fire Chief Ron Martin. “While we are working diligently with fire district leaders to identify the best timeline and procedure for welcoming you back home to determine your personal steps to rebuild from this devastating storm, we wanted to be sure residents had all of the necessary information to be ready when the Beach reopens,” said Mayor Ray Murphy.

First, be prepared for a challenging infrastructure environment—there will be no power to energize equipment and there will be no running water for drinking, cleaning, bathing, or utilizing toilets. To prepare for these conditions, you should consider bringing bottled water or other hydration sources and a larger water source for clean-up activities.

Please avoid contact with flood waters, rivers, or gulf/bay waters to prevent exposure to unknown physical, chemical, biological, and/or bacterial pollution in the waterways.

When it comes to clean-up activities, a lot of structures may be unsafe for entry; please prepare to be unable to physically enter your home for your own safety. For structures that are safe for entry, prepare to bring a host of supplies to assist with the start of your recovery. Consider including supplies such as:

· Large plastic bins for salvaging items

· Tarps for repairs

· Paper towels, towels, household cleaners like bleach, disinfectant solutions, dish soap, and laundry detergent

· Gloves (latex and work), safety glasses, and N-95 masks

· Brooms, mops, buckets, sponges, scouring pads, scrub brushes

· Small tools like hammers, crowbars, pliers, screwdrivers, and wrenches

· Shovels, wheel barrels, dollies

· Heavy-duty trash bags

Make sure to bring a first-aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, and any expected food items or snacks to remain healthy. Lastly, when a phased re-entry timeline is finalized, the process will involve an ease of access plan including identified entry and exit roads that are least hazardous to vehicles and provide for maximum flow in and out of the beach.

We will also provide ample daylight hours for everyone to get as much done as they’d like to each day. The process will also involve a strict security protocol that will include proof of residency and a limitation on the number of individuals and vehicles per address allowed in at any given time.

Once this process is confirmed, we will share it with residents with ample time to prepare. Be aware that many roadways are still damaged, unidentifiable, covered in sand, and/or covered in debris including sharp objects and nails. Be prepared to make tire repairs either with a repair kit and/or materials as well as spare tires.

“Know that we want to see you back home as much as you want to be back home,” said Chief Martin, “We just have to make sure your time on the island is safe and orderly and that you are prepared to make the most of that time when it’s determined.”

“The beach will rebuild, that is my commitment to you, the residents,” said Mayor Murphy, “But I know that starts with our residents rebuilding first. We hope this guidance helps you do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Please text 239-470-1090 with questions.

Jennifer Dexter
Communications Coordinator