As we reported last week, the Town of Fort Myers Beach Code Enforcement Department warned the owners of Nervous Nellie’s that they were going to ticket them on St. Patrick’s Day if they violated the town’s mask mandate/social distancing ordinance. The restaurant was ticketed, but not for what you think.
Earlier in the week, according to the restaurant owners, with a printed Facebook post in their hands, code enforcement warned the Lemmer’s that they would be back on St. Patrick’s Day to check up on the business to make sure they were in compliance with the town’s COVID ordinance. The Lemmer’s say they were threatened with a $5,000 fine. The ordinance gives code enforcement the authority to issue a $500 fine. And, it’s worth noting that not a single COVID related ticket has been written by the town.
Code enforcement officer did indeed return on Wednesday and wrote a $500 ticket. The Lemmer’s told us the ticket was for having table out on the dock, which is the town’s right of way. The violation had nothing to do with the COVID ordinance.
Here’s what Nervous Nellie’s owner Tyler Lemmer told Beach Talk Radio News about the ticket. “We spaced the tables as best we could to provide some social distances for our guests. When the gentleman from code enforcement came and asked us to move the tables off the dock we told him we spaced them this way so that people could distance while they ate. The crowds in the late afternoon and evening exceeded our wildest expectations and obviously any social distancing was out of the question. We do not plan on appealing the fine and will pay it immediately.”