Lake Wales Groups Cancel Events, Take Precautions Against COVID-19 Virus
Last updated 3/14/2020 at 7:05am
In an abundance of caution to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus various organizations in the Lake Wales area are canceling events or taking extra safety measures.
As of 1 a.m. March 14 the Florida Department of Health still reported no cases in Polk County, and a total of 83 cases statewide, which resulted in three deaths. Updates are available online at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/index.html
Walt Disney World and Universal Studios announced plans to close Sunday for the rest of March. Gov. Ron DeSantis has urged cancellation of large-scale events. The Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo has announced it is rescheduling its air show to May 5-10; it was originally scheduled for March 31 to April 4.
Numerous businesses and organizations have announced their commitment to public safety and increased measures to clean surfaces and ensure soap dispensers are filled and hand sanitizer is available. The new 7-Eleven store at the corner of SR 60 and Buck Moore Road is postponing its previously schedule March 19 grand opening.
The Polk County Public Schools and Lake Wales Charter School district announced plans to be closed March 16-30. The second week was spring break, when schools already were planned to be closed. Polk State College is suspending all classes from March 16-30, but faculty and staff will be working the first week on transitioning classes to online.
Bok Tower Gardens announced it plans to close at 5 p.m. March 13 and will not open until Friday, April 3.
The Lake Wales Little Theatre plans to continue its scheduled performances of Super Freaks, which opens Friday, March 13 and runs for three weekends. The theatre plans to thoroughly clean lobby surfaces and sanitize seating armrests before and after productions.
The Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council canceled its March 20 member appreciation luncheon and pulled out as a sponsor of the March 16 Lake Wales City Commission Candidate Forum. Also canceled or postponed are the chamber's First Friday Coffee and New Member Orientation and Youth Leadership Lake Wales Graduation.
Co-sponsor Rotary on the Ridge now is coordinating the candidate forum, which will be moved to the meeting room at the Ouellette Law Firm at 151 E. Central Ave. in downtown Lake Wales. Brandon Alvarado with the Lake Wales Arts Center will be the moderator and both candidates for City Commission Seat 5, Robin Gibson and Bob Wood, plan to attend. Attendance will be limited and the club plans to videotape the forum and do a Facebook Live broadcast starting at 5:30 p.m. which can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/RotaryontheRidge The forum is co-sponsored by the Lake Wales Ars Council and Lakewalesnews.net.
The City of Lake Wales is canceling events, including the planned Lake Wales LIVE, Lake Night Cinema and Lake Wales Board Member Appreciation Dinner. Lake Wales MainStreet is canceling Hop, Shop and Stroll. The city plans to allow private rentals at the James P. Austin Center that are already scheduled, but City Manager Ken Fields is seeking authority to impose a surcharge to cover the costs of the additional cleaning and disinfecting after events with more than 50 people. Fields said he also plans to institute a moratorium on special event permits for gatherings of more than 50 people on public property.
Out of an abundance of caution for its older workers and young attendees the First United Methodist Church is canceling its March 13 Seeds of Faith Kids Night.
The Lake Wales Soccer Club plans to go forward with the Opening Day of the spring season, Saturday March 14. They will be monitoring the situation to determine whether to continue with the next play day, April 4. They ask anyone who is not feeling well to not come to opening day and for everyone to take safety precautions.
Lake Wales Little League has postponed all activities until April 6th. This includes games, practices, and batting cages.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We will update this story as we get new information. If you represent an organization that is canceling an event or you have other information to share please include your contact information and email [email protected]