Lee County leaders: Stay home or we’ll take action

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FILE: A closed sign, attached on the outside fence at the Alafia River State Park, is shown Monday, March 23, 2020, in Lithia, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an order closing all of Florida’s 175 state parks, trails and historic sites to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Orange County in Central Florida just announced a stay-at-home order for its 1.3-million residents and Alachua Broward and Miami-Dade counties have also ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Lee County commissioners held a meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss implementing a stay-at-home order for the county but ultimately decided to wait.

One said they want to support the strongest possible steps without unnecessarily hurting ordinary citizens, such as those who won’t have income if they’re forced to stay home.

Commissioners said they’ll do a social media campaign to target people who may have plans to come to Florida to stay away for now.

Another campaign will target Lee County residents, asking them to stay home.

Lee Health President and CEO Larry Antonucci spoke at the meeting and said they’re begging people to social distance. Without it, the hospital system would run out of beds within a few weeks.

The commissioners said they plan to see what people do over the weekend, and they’ll meet again Monday to reassess.

Lee County Commission Chairman Brian Hamman said that if people are distancing enough, the county will continue a voluntary stay at home. If not, they could enact a stay-at-home order.

So far, Lee County has closed beaches, pools, libraries, walkup lobbies and counters in most public buildings.

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