As the restrictions placed on people and businesses necessitated by the novel coronavirus continue to increase all over the world, the first wave of closings have hit Gateway.
The Gateway District has closed the soccer fields and dog park effective immediately, and Skinny Dogz Brunchery has announced they will be closing their dining room area and switch to take-out only effective tomorrow, March 18.
District Manager Chris Shoemaker told the Sun via email:
The GSA and Elite Soccer and Flag suspended play until March 28 (or later). Over the weekend we looked at other closings by Lee County, including Jet Blue, tours and recreational classes.
We closed the soccer fields with signage late Saturday. On Sunday staff went to dog park and pool to post signage and let patrons know we would be closing those rec facilities. This was due to concern about the numbers that use both facilities and the close proximity of those users. We received a number of complaints about these closings this morning and in response opened the pool by 10:00 A.M. The dog park was not locked and patron were using the facility.
I made the decision to close the facilities out of concern for public safety. At present we are waiting the course of action by Lee County. If they close their pool and dog parks, Gateway will follow that lead. It is a fluid situation and could change any day. There is a growing number of CDD’s and HOA’s that are cancelling their meetings and have closed their pools and restaurants. It’s a tough decision to close recreational facilities, but we chose the path that favored safety of the residents and not add to the potential suffering of the community.
The District now has limited access to the office and have posted signage for residents to call or email for assistance or bill paying. The office staff interacts with the utility field staff that operate and maintain the potable water supply and sewer collection system. These utility systems are mission critical to our operation and residents and take priority of customer convenience at this time. We are now looking at the possibility of cancelling or postponing the Board meeting this week due to concerns of spreading the virus.
GSA is the Gateway Soccer Association, while Flag is in regards to the Gateway Flag Football League.
Meanwhile Skinny Dogz put the following statement on their Facebook page:
We will be closed Tuesday, March 17th to regroup. We will be back open Wednesday, March 18 with a limited menu for TAKE OUT ONLY.
The Skinny Dogz owners are Gateway residents who also own Fat Katz Bistro just off Daniels Parkway, and they have announced the same changes to Fat Katz regarding the switch to take-out only.
The Center for Disease Control announced their preference (although not an order) that no gatherings above more than 50 people take place. President Trump’s coronavirus task force went a step further and strongly suggested there should be no gatherings with more than 10 people for the time being.
The State of Florida has moved more slowly than other areas of the county in enacting bans and ordering business closings. The closings and changes enacted by the district and Skinny Dogz have been proactive and voluntary, not state ordered.
Florida’s Department of Heath, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection has created a “real-time” coronavirus map which breaks down the cases in the state at the county level. As of 8:04am this morning here’s the statistics for Lee County:
Lee County, Florida
Total Cases: 4
Travel-Related Cases: 2
Age Range: 72-77