If the current safer-at-home order in the state is allowed to expire this week, that means businesses and places that were previously shut down would be allowed to reopen. Some businesses are preparing to get back to work starting Friday, May 1, while others feel like another order from the governor could delay that. On Fort Myers Beach, the town council is meeting at 9 a.m. today via Zoom
to discuss ways of getting locals back on the beach with a possible partial reopening of the town beach to its own residents for a very limited time in the morning. A local task force made up of hotels, restaurants and other retail businesses is discussing new safety guidelines, ones they would all adopt in order to safely reopen. Story reported by WINK News
Video courtesy of WINK News
PANDEMIC HURTS TOURISM TAX REVENUE IN SWFL
Flights are down by nearly 70 percent, there is barely any traffic on area roads and most beaches are deserted. The coronavirus has grounded Southwest Florida’s tourism industry, which translates into millions of dollars lost in the region. Hotels are considered essential businesses, but just because they are open does not mean anyone is staying in rooms. Empty or closed hotels have caused tourist tax revenue to plummet. Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties were all on track for record-breaking years. Lee County expected to see close to $51 million from the tax this fiscal year. Now, that number has dropped to closer to $33 million. In Collier County, much of that money is used for things such as marketing, beach renourishment and county museums. Experts believe it could take up to a year and half to even begin to see the normal amount of revenue again. Story reported by WINK News
Video courtesy of WINK News
FLORIDA CORONAVIRUS PATIENT GOES HOME AFTER PLASMA THERAPY
The first man in the southeastern United States to receive plasma therapy for the coronavirus is a Central Florida resident and he’s recovering at home now. Michael Kevin Rathel was on his deathbed when his wife, Stacie, found someone who beat COVID-19 and was a plasma donor match. The treatment he received likely saved his life. Stacie Rathel never stopped believing her husband would beat COVID-19 even when doctors put him in a medically-induced coma and gave him only a 20 percent chance of survival. Two weeks later, Rathel left Orlando Regional Medical Center with doctors and nurses cheering him on. Once he’s fully recovered, Rathel wants to donate his plasma and hopes he can help someone else beat coronavirus. Locally, both Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System are participating in a plasma donor clinical trial. Story reported by WINK News
NAPLES CLOSED HOME SALES UP IN MARCH
Home prices in the Naples area housing market remained steady, and in some cases, increased, according to the March 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). Because the stay-at-home order went into effect mid-month, real estate activity during the first two weeks of March was strong, while activity during the second half of March tempered well, the report showed. Overall closed sales in March increased 15.8 percent to 1,148 closed sales compared to 991 closed sales in March 2019. This was an increase of 359 closed sales over February (789 closed sales) and 426 more closed sales than January (722 closed sales). The report also showed a 22.5 percent increase in closed sales for the first quarter of 2020 (2,689 total closed sales) compared to the first quarter of 2019 (2,195 total closed sales). To view the entire report, visit NaplesArea.com
Hand sanitizer supply delivery for Lee Health
SEED & BEAN MARKET EXPANDS SHOP TO INCLUDE ESSENTIAL ITEMS
Seed & Bean Market has pivoted from normal operations in order to better serve the community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Seed & Bean Market has expanded its marketplace to provide essential goods including hand sanitizers, paper towels, baby wipes, groceries and more. Seed & Bean Market Co-Founder Cole Peacock has worked closely with Lee Health in order to supply hand sanitizer for its staff, frontline workers and general needs. For more details, visit seedandbeanmarket.com
Charity for Change receives $15,000 grant supporting distance learning
Charity for Change has received a $15,000 grant from The Arthrex Charitable Giving program. The grant will provide for the updating of curriculum which will support the transition from classrooms to eLearning. The social-emotional learning curriculum will connect children while they are out of school with updated social-emotional learning videos and content. The grant will provide for the addition of unlimited students to its 12-year-old Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) educational programs. Charity for Change has released the first two episodes of Giver TV a series of videos and activities that are available at charityforchange.org
and its YouTube channel.
Ecological Laboratories Inc. is producing sanitizer for heath care works
Ecological Laboratories Inc. produces, donates hand sanitizer for health care workers
Ecological Laboratories Inc. set up a special production line to produce hand sanitizer for health care workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Recently, a team from the family-owned biotechnology firm delivered a donation of 25 cases of 16-ounce hand sanitizers to Cape Coral Hospital. The company normally specializes in providing environmentally friendly, non-chemical solutions to help solve water quality and wastewater-treatment issues, in addition to improving the yield of agricultural crops. For more details, visit ecologicallaboratories.com
Liberty restaurant, VeraData Decision Labs donate lunch to hospital workers
Liberty restaurant and VeraData Decision Labs
is donating lunch for staff on the COVID-19 and ICU floors at three Lee Health facilities. Lunch was provided for staff at Gulf Coast Medical Center on April 24. On Thursday and Friday, lunch will be donated for staff at Lee Memorial Hospital and HealthPark Medical Center Donations from Liberty customers who have ordered from the restaurant’s new takeout menu helped cover the cost of these lunches and may allow for another round of donated meals for hospital staff. Michael Peterman is the founder and CEO of Fort Myers–based data analytics firm VeraData Decision Labs, and Bob Boye is the chef/owner of Liberty in South Fort Myers.
Inn on Fifth workers receive food and supplies.
The Inn on Fifth distributes food, supplies to laid-off employees
Several workers from The Inn on Fifth
in downtown Naples on April 21 returned to the inn for another special delivery. Hotel owner Phil McCabe has arranged for a weekly distribution of food and supplies for his employees who have been out of work since the luxury hotel temporarily closed its doors last month. A number of hotel staff are helping package and distribute meat, pasta, eggs, milk, produce and other items to housekeepers and other workers who are currently laid off.
Beautiful Health shows appreciation for health care professionals
wants to honor Collier County’s dedicated health care professionals by offering customized CARE packages to those who could use a little pampering and relaxation during these difficult times. Nominations are open to anyone in the healthcare profession and may be nominated through Beautiful Health’s Facebook page. There will be three winners with drawings to select a weekly winner to be held this Friday, and May 8 and May 15. The free CARE package will be delivered with a card that includes who nominated them, plus over $100 of all-natural beauty and healthcare products and a gift card for a 30-minute massage by licensed massage therapist Addy Huff, which may be scheduled once deemed a safe time. No purchase is necessary to nominate a healthcare professional, just mention why they should be included in the drawing. Nominations may be made on Beautiful Health’s Facebook page through private messenger. Details to be found here
Fort Myers Brewing Co. hosts food donation drive-thru for Community Cooperative
Fort Myers Brewing Co.
is hosting “Gateway CAN do it: Food Drive Rally” to collect food and financial donations for Community Cooperative
during drive-thru, take-out beer order hours from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. With the need to feed local families and seniors more than doubling, Community Cooperative is working throughout Lee County to provide mobile food pantries, Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors and daily hot grab-and-go meals. In support, Fort Myers Brewing is asking the community to fill a box truck by donating shelf-stable food products or checks so that Community Cooperative can cost-effectively buy the food it needs. A donation of $20 helps underwrite food kits distributed for a family of four, which include shelf stable items, produce, frozen meats, bread and milk. For information on food to donate, visit here