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Lee County expands closures to help mitigate virus’ spread

By Staff | Mar 24, 2020

On March 23, Lee County Government reported that it is expanding previously announced closings until further notice and is moving more services online in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The county’s goal is to reduce person-to-person contact, following the president’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, available at www.coronavirus.gov.

For a complete list of Lee County government closings, visit www.leegov.com/COVID-19 or on Facebook at “Lee County Government.”

Included in the announcements were:

– The majority of the remaining public lobbies in county-owned buildings are closed as of 5 p.m. March 23. The county closed many of its lobbies last week.

– The announcement includes Public Works, at 1500 Monroe St., Fort Myers, at which Lee County Community Development handles services such as building permits and development services, which are being handled online at www.leegov.com/dcd. Building inspections will continue, but staff will not conduct physical inspections of occupied structures; protocols are in place to handle them remotely.

– Also included is Lee County Domestic Animal Services, which last week began conducting pet adoptions and fostering by appointment only in the lobby. Because of community response, a minimum number of animals remain and adoptions and fostering are suspended at this time; staff will continue to feed and clean at the shelter. Animal Control Officers will continue to respond to calls such as those for dangerous dogs. Provisions are in place to handle strays; call 239-533-7387. The annual Flip This Kennel event has been postponed.

– An exception to the lobby-closing announcement is at the County Administration lobby, at 2115 Second St., Fort Myers, which is open and has an information table from the Lee Clerk of Court’s Office to assist with its remote services. No staff are in the main lobby area.

– Lee County Library System book-return sites will close at all locations on March 26. Library patrons are asked to refrain from leaving materials next to book returns after that date. No late fees will be charged. Lee County libraries online services remain available at www.leelibrary.net; the telephone reference call center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 239-533-INFO.

The steps announced continue the county’s and community’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Taking the next 15 days or so to practice best hygiene and observe federal and state guidelines, we potentially can slow this virus down and limit the timeframe that we have to have our lobbies and facilities closed,” Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said.

County staff from the organization’s various departments who can work remotely are doing so.

Essential services continue, such as water-sampling for Lee County Utilities and Natural Resources as well as small-crew road work, traffic-signal monitoring and regularly scheduled garbage collection. Social distancing is being practiced among staff members who are not working remotely.

As of March 23, Lee County Parks & Recreation’s outdoor sites – including boat ramps, parks and Conservation 20/20 preserves – continue to remain open. It is subject to change as conditions warrant.

LeeTran fixed route and Passport services continue and include steps announced last week to reduce contact.

An announcement about the Lee County Board of County Commissioners’ next regularly scheduled meeting, which is April 7, will be forthcoming.

Residents seeking general information about COVID-19 and its related impacts on the community can call the United Way 211 Helpline by dialing 2-1-1 or 239-433-3900 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The county encourages everyone to read the resources offered by the federal Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and www.coronavirus.gov and the Florida Department of Health at www.floridahealth.gov.