NOTICE: The items appearing in this column are as accurate as possible. Please phone the listed numbers for confirmation and further information.
Want to keep up to date on COVID-19? For factual information, visit the Florida Department of Health at FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19. The site also provides links to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) World Health Organization (WHO,) COVID-19 symptoms and guidance for businesses and health care providers. You can also visit the Sarasota County government dedicated page at www.scgov.net/government/health-and-human-services/covid-19-coronavirus and Charlotte County government’s page at www.charlottecountyfl.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Information.aspx.
The Sarasota County Health Department has established a COVID-19 call center for Sarasota County residents who believe they may have coronavirus The number is 861•2883. Subject-matter experts are on duty 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
COVID-19 Text Alert Launches
Sarasota County Government has launched an opt-in text alert system for the community to receive information about county updates related to COVID-19. Those who wish to receive the alerts should text SRQCOVID19 to 888777 to register. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the DOH dedicated COVID-19 call center at 866•779•6121 or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. Sarasota County website is www.scgov.net.
Following government and CDC guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all Charlotte, Sarasota and Lee County beaches are closed until further notice. Parking lots are barricaded, and lifeguards will work with law enforcement to proactively educate and interact with beachgoers. State parks, including Stump Pass, Don Pedro and Gasparilla Island, are closed. Stay up to date by visiting scgov.net for Sarasota County, www.charlottecountyfl.gov for Charlotte County, and www.floridastateparks.org for state parks.
Free Food for Students
Sky Academy Englewood, 871 S. River Road, will be a food distribution site until school resumes. There will be free lunches for all students ages 5 to 18 regardless of which school they attend. Hours are 11am to 1pm. Students must be present in order to collect the meal. In order to know how many meals are needed to be prepared, parents/guardians must complete a confidential form that can be found on the SKY Academy website, www.skyatthey.com, and Facebook page. Adults who accompany the students will receive a lunch provided by Mango Bistro. Students over 18 that are home from school may bring proof of their need to Sky Academy during these hours to receive a voucher for a lunch at Mango Bistro.
Charlotte County students, ages 5 to 18, can get a free breakfast and lunch through the Charlotte County Schools’ Champ’s on Wheels program through April 15. The Champ’s Café will be providing curbside service 10am to 1pm weekdays at Myakka River Elementary School, 12650 Willmington Blvd and L.A. Ainger Middle School, 245 Cougar Way. The child must be present to receive the meal. For questions, call Champ’s Café office at 575•5400, ext. 109.
The School Backpack Ministry which provides weekend bags of food for Englewood Elementary School students has those bags available for pickup at the Jubilee Center at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 401 S. Broadway. Families with children who are in need of food can request one when they stop by for food. The Jubilee Center is open Monday through Thursday, 10am to noon. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Jubilee Center is offering curbside pick-up. For questions, call 681•3550.
Englewood Helping Hand, 700 E. Dearborn Street, is also offering free food for families with children with curbside service. Pantry is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30am to 2:30pm, for families and individuals needing food assistance.
A growing list of restaurants are offering free meals to children while they are out of school. Isabella’s Bistro, 6880 Placida Road, is offering food to children in need. For more information, call 698•8880. Mango Bistro is providing a meal for college students who are home and in need of meal. They must present themselves at Sky Academy between 11am and 1pm weekdays to receive a voucher for a meal at Mango Bistro, 301 W. Dearborn Street. Mini City Food Stand is stepping up to provide a free meal for children while they are out of school. Children will receive a free meal from a limited menu along with bottled water. They will continue to offer a regular menu for the public as well, featuring their Sliders. Mini City will be moving around to various Englewood sites so visit their Facebook page for upcoming locations. Phone: 733•0289.
Farmers Markets Closed
The Englewood Farmers Market which runs every Thursday from 9am-2pm is currently closed. Check englewoodfarmersmarket.org/ for the latest information. The Life Realized Farmers Market (a.k.a. Sunday Farmers Market) is suspended until further notice. Follow them on facebook.com/ life-realized-Sunday-farmers-market. The Dearborn Street Market and Corin Bay Market are also temporarily closed. Follow their Facebook pages for the latest information. All these markets are compiling with government COVID-19 directives.
EUMC Online Events
In compliance with CDC guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, all public gatherings at Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn Street, are cancelled until further notice. EUMC’s regular worship services, as well as its special ones for Holy Week, will be held online only until restrictions are lifted. Regular Sunday morning worship will be online at 7:45am for the traditional, 9:15am for the contemporary and 11am traditional service. Select ‘Live Stream” on the church’s www.englewoodumc.net website. The Easter Cantatas, scheduled to conclude the 12th annual Concert Series, is included in the complete cancellations. On Sunday, April 5, Holy Week officially begins with the Palm Sunday worship service broadcasts. A Maundy Thursday April 9 service will be held online at 7:30pm. A special online Good Friday worship service will be broadcast April 10, 7:30-8:30pm. The service, “The Blues of the Almighty God,” will solemnly focus on the crucifixion of Jesus. The message will be interspersed with Christian Blues music that included organ, flute, trumpet and vocal solos. Stay tuned to the website for any future updates. The church’s pastors remain available for pastoral care needs. Call the church office at 474•5588 to receive the phone number of the Pastor on Call.
Gulf Cove UMC News
All are invited to join the Gulf Cove United Methodist Church’s live-streaming worship service online on Sundays at 10am. Just go to the church’s website, GulfCoveChurch.com, and click on the Worship Online button on the left side of the homepage. In the current health environment, and until further notice, all events and ministries, including the Easter Festival and Egg Hunt that was scheduled for April 4 and the Closet of Hope are cancelled. The office has shortened its hours to 9am to noon, Monday through Friday. The church can be reached at 697•1747 or GulfCoveUMCW@gmail.com.
Charlotte County Closures
Charlotte County has announced closings of many of its county parks, recreation centers and pools until April 12 (pending future developments.) In Englewood Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park, Tringali Park Recreation Center and Englewood Charlotte Public Library are closed. For more information and other affected sites and events, visit www.CharlotteCountyFl.gov. A COVID-19 information page has been launched on the website as well.
Library Curbside Service
Charlotte County Libraries and History Division will now be offering curbside service for library books on hold. Patrons can place books on hold through the Libraries website or the Libraries Blue Cloud mobile application. Library staff will call the patron when their items are available for pickup. Once patrons have arrived at the library and parked in the designated parking spots, they can call the number on the sign and staff will deliver their items to their car. In Englewood, this service is available during normal business hours at the Englewood Charlotte Public Library Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For information, contact Terri Crawford at 613-3189 or Terri.Crawford@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.
Charlotte County Tax Office Closed
Offices of the Charlotte County Property Appraiser and Tax Collector are closed to the public until further notice to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. While the lobbies are closed to the public, staff is still available to process transactions. Customers can continue to complete transactions online, by mail or by phone. Driver license and ID cards expiring through April 15 have been extended. Website address is www.ccappraiser.com. For tax collector, call 743•1350. For exemptions, call 743•1593. For real property, call 743•1498. For tangible personal property, call 743•1476.
Sarasota County Libraries Close
Sarasota County has announced closings of county libraries through April 12. Library staff is in the process of establishing a curbside pick-up option for items placed on hold through the online catalogue. The digital library is available for cardholders to access books, magazine, movies, music and TV programs. Those need to register for a new card or renew can call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861•5000.
CC Boat Ramps & Parks Open
Charlotte County boat ramps and parks will remain open. However, all Charlotte County facilities are currently closed, including all county government buildings, recreation centers, playgrounds, dog parks, sports courts and other park amenities, county pools, libraries, and public beaches. The closures will be enforced under the county trespass ordinance. County operations will continue. Country services are available online, by mail and by phone. Visit www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov and click the COVID-19 information banner at the top of the page.
Sarasota County Closures
All indoor facilities operated by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources have been closed to the public, including Englewood Sports Complex. In addition, Sarasota County is reminding the community to follow directions issued by Governor Ron DeSantis to limit their gatherings to ten people, and to distance themselves from other parties. Keep up to date on closures at www.scgov.net.
Water Quality Symposium Cancelled
Lemon Bay Conservancy’s 2020 Water Quality Symposium, “Water Quality: Doing Our Part,” on April 4, has been cancelled. For LBC updates, visit www.lemonbayconservancy.org or their Facebook page.
ESA Suspends Activities
Englewood Sailing Association (ESA) has suspended their spring sailing activities until further notice. ESA is committed to doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus. They remain hopeful they will be able to conduct their planned Learn to Sail summer camps but will adjust plans in response to conditions as they develop. Stay informed by visiting www.englewoodsailing.org, emailing email@example.com, calling 681•8190 or following them on Facebook.
Mote Aquarium Closed
Mote Marine Aquarium is temporarily closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19 virus. The annual Run for the Turtles is moved to an all-virtual run. Regular updates of the operations status will be available by calling 388•4441 or online at www.mote.org/COVID19.F
Hospital Visitor Guidelines
In order to protect patients, visitors, physicians and caregivers, HCA Healthcare West Florida hospitals, including Englewood Community Hospital are implementing a modified visitor policy, effective until further notice.
Inpatient Units - No visitors are permitted. Exceptions must be approved by the Hospital Administrator on Call (AOC) or administration and can be made for: labor and delivery, post-partum, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU.) One visitor is allowed and may stay overnight. End-of-life situation visitors are allowed in accordance with State of Florida Emergency Order No. 20-52.
Emergency Room – One visitor is allowed per patient in the ER. Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, the visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.
Outpatient Surgery – One visitor is allowed per patient in designated waiting area. If patient is admitted, visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.
No one under 18 is allowed unless they are the parent of a hospitalized child.
All authorized persons entering hospital will be screened.
Patients may use their phone, Skype, or FaceTime to communicate with family and friends during this time. For questions, contact the hospital, 700 Medical Blvd., at 475-6571.
Community Care Clinic Remains Closed
The Englewood Community Care Clinic, Inc. has been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and as such made the decision on March 2nd to close the community’s free clinic until in-person patient care can be safely resumed. The Englewood Community Care Clinic wants the public to know the following:
• They cannot test for COVID-19. They do not have the lab facilities or the testing kits necessary to accurately diagnose this illness.
• They do not have, nor do they have access to, the proper Personal Protective Equipment to keep volunteers safe when serving patients who are potentially infected with COVID-19.
• They have limited testing for other acute illnesses and they have no process to keep an ill person from infecting many others.
• They are NOT a part of Florida’s Department of Health and receive NO Federal financial support.
The care provided is purely from the kindness of volunteers’ hearts in an effort to serve the community and give a helping hand to those in need. The clinic is not designed to provide long-term care, but rather fill a void for folks in need until they can find permanent health care. Patient follow-up on ongoing medical issues and medication refills will continue to be addressed as the Clinic is still working daily behind the scenes to continue to support the community. If you have an urgent matter, please call the clinic at 681•2081 and leave a message.
Property Tax Exemptions
The Charlotte County Property Appraiser is now accepting 2021 Exemption applications. Homestead Exemption applications can be filed online. Visit www.ccappraiser.com for further instructions. Obtain an instruction sheet and application form at www.ccappraiser.com to apply by mail. The filing deadline is 5pm, March 1, 2021. The telephone number is 941•743•1593.
CARING AND SHARING
Blood Donors Needed
You can help save lives by donating blood, for which there is always a high demand right here in this area. The Suncoast Blood Bank will be in Englewood on the following dates: Merchants Crossing Shopping Center, 1500 Placida Road, on Mondays March 30 and April 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 10am to 3pm. A stop has also been scheduled for Englewood Community Hospital, 700 Medical Blvd., on Thursday, April 9, 9am to 2pm. For more information, call 954•1600. If you are interested in hosting a blood drive for your employees or community, please call the above number. OneBlood “Big Red Bus” is also holding blood drives locally. The bus will be at Chase Bank, 11 N. Indiana Avenue, on Sunday, March 29, 9am to 1pm, Winn Dixie, 1951 S. McCall Road, on Sunday, April 5, 10am to 5pm, Merchants Crossing Shopping Center, 1500 Placida Road on Tuesday, April 7, 10am to 4pm, Faith Lutheran Church, 551 Rotonda Blvd. West, on Wednesday, April 8, 10am to 3pm, Walmart, 2931 S. McCall Road on Sunday, April 12, 10am to 4pm, Bealls, 1500 Placida Road, Tuesday, April 14, 10am to 4pm, Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, 2710 S. McCall Road, Thursday, April 16, 9am to 1pm, PetSupermarket, 1951 S. McCall Road, on Thursday, April 16, 2 to 5pm. For OneBlood questions, call 239•362•9641.
COAD Offers Help
The Community Organizations Active in a Disaster (COAD) is a point of entry to assist Charlotte County residents with economic hardships due to COVID-19 and its effects on daily life. Funding will be available for rent/mortgage, transportation, utilities, childcare, food, and other needs once initial screening has been completed. Visit www.COADFL.org to fill out a pre-screen application today or call 2-1-1 (or 205•2161 for TTY, Englewood, and out of area cell phone callers) for information on available community resources.
The items appearing in this column are as accurate as possible. Please phone the listed numbers for confirmation and further information. If you have an upcoming event you would like to have considered for “Around the Town” please send info and/or photo to The Englewood REVIEW, 370 W Dearborn St, Suite B, Englewood, FL 34223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.