North Naples community stays interactive while social distancing

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Even though beaches are closed and people are staying at home, that hasn’t stopped them from spending time together safely. People who live in the same complex found their own way to stay engaged with each other with a condo-wide game.

Community members of the Bermuda Bay community in North Naples practiced social distancing while also interacting through a bingo game called “balcony moolah” Sunday.

This Southwest Florida neighborhood hit the jackpot by finding a way for neighbors to follow CDC guidelines and still be social. They created their own bingo game with sets of cards. And neighbors can play from their own balcony.

“It’s a game neighbors can play from a healthy distance, including from their own balcony,” neighbor Rik Cryderman said. “We have many people here who are quite at risk, so we wanted to have something fun but also do it very safely and very carefully.”

Fifty-five neighbors played 15 rounds of “balcony moolah” Sunday afternoon, maintaining six feet of separation from each other. Neighbors who organized the game distributed the cards to each doorstep this morning in sanitized baggies to keep from spreading germs.

Jean Zera is 91 years old and has lived in the Bermuda Bay community for 20 years. Her favorite part of her home are her neighbors.

“I’m a real socializer,”” Zera said. “I like to go out with all my friends here.”

But lately, Zera and other neighbors in this tight-knit community haven’t gotten to see their friends as much because of cancellations and quarantines to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

“People are staying home more,” Zeras said. “Our restaurants are closed.”

That’s why Cryderman came up with a way for he and his neighbors to still socialize while social distancing.

“A lot of our people are single, and they’re sequestered alone,” Cryderman said. “And they really miss their friends, so we thought can we do something that’s safe and fun. So we came up with this idea.”

Russell Whistler was the lucky winner of one of the 15 rounds of “balcony moolah.”

“I won $15,” Whistler said.

But he and other neighbors say the real prize was time spent with neighbors.

“Just being able to get out on the deck here and spend a little time even though we’re six-feet apart,” Whistler said. “It just brings everybody a lot closer.”

Neighbors also told us they’re organizing a community goodnight wave, where each neighbor will stand on their own balcony and wave good night to one another.

“I hope they come up with more ideas to do different things with the group even though we’re spaced apart,” Gayle Dicenso said.

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