Coronavirus in SWFL: Churches and other public gathering places taking necessary precautions to fight virus

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Church, Bible (Pixabay)

With one death and now two other presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Southwest Florida, the Lee County community and health leaders gathered to set the record straight on what’s being done to combat the virus here.

Sunday, churches have already begun taking precautions ahead of the morning’s services.

The Diocese of Venice in Florida is making big changes, telling churches to stop distributing wine during communion and to provide holy water only through sanitary containers.

There is currently a flyer being handed out at all Catholic masses Sunday asking parishioners to take precautions because of the coronavirus.

Churches taking precautions ahead of Sunday mass. (WINK News)

They’re asking you to share the sign of peace without touching hands, keep from holding hands during the “Our Father” prayer, receive communion in your hand and not come to mass if you are not feeling well.

In addition, the holy water fonts will be empty during this time.

The Diocese also says if you are sick and choose to remain home, they do produce a televised Catholic mass. You can find where to watch that by checking their TV Mass Guide, here.

But it’s not just the churches that are re-evaluating.

Schools, employers, cruises and airlines are all taking a step back as this virus continues to spread globally and right here at home.

Medical experts say not to panic, but in the same breath say it’s time to make some lifestyle changes—particularly when it comes to large crowds.

On Saturday, Southwest Florida Reading Festival goers said they trust the CDC’s advice.

“These kinds of crowds don’t scare me because if you use the proper hygiene, you take the proper steps, you’ll be protected,” said Joe Gerl of Cape Coral.

“My kids are well informed: they wash their hands, they know the procedures as far as sneezing and coughing, so, we’re good,” said Shadreya Lampkin of Fort Myers.

Health and government officials warn that heeding that advice from the CDC is more important than ever.

You can also stay up-to-date with the latest information on the coronavirus in our state by heading to the Florida Department of Health website or following their Twitter feed below:


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.