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Naples beaches to open but with shortened hours, restrictions

People are asked to keep the coolers and tents at home for the time being.
Credit: WINK-TV

NAPLES, Fla. — Public beaches in Naples will, once again, open to the public not long after city officials shut them down because of overcrowding.

They were closed to the public Sunday when too many people were packed in together a day prior -- a little too close for comfort for city leaders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

City council members voted 4-3 during an emergency meeting Monday to reopen the beaches but not without restrictions, according to WINK-TV.

From Monday through Friday starting May 13, the beaches will be open from sunrise to sunset and with chairs and umbrellas allowed. The coolers and tents must stay home, the Naples Daily News reports.

The beaches will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends before opening again at 5 p.m. There can be no chairs, tents, umbrellas or coolers on the beach, though chairs are allowed during evenings to watch the sunset.

Parking will be limited to city and county stickers and no residential parking unless marked.

Crowds on Saturday were "crazy," WINK reported one woman saying, while another man said he saw no social distancing of the sort.

City leaders think they might have reached a balance.

"My judgment call was not done hastily," said Mayor Teresa Heitmann, according to the Daily News. "It was done with the city manager, the police chief and the fire department to make sure this situation does not get out of control. 

"I heard descriptions of mayhem and a lack of regard to emergency orders of social distancing."

RELATED: People trash Cocoa Beach with 13,000 pounds of litter after it reopens

RELATED: Pinellas County sheriff says people are following the rules on beaches

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