Lee County moves forward to reopen pools, playgrounds and more beginning Friday

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Karl Drew’s Community Park in San Carlos Park, closes due to coronavirus concerns. March 20, 2020.

Lee County announced they will be opening more Parks and Recreation sites as well as more amenities beginning Friday.

According to the Lee County communications director, because of continued voluntary compliance and the community’s greater awareness for Centers for Disease Control guidelines, the county will reopen pools, playgrounds, pavilions, courts, multi-purpose fields (soccer/lacrosse/football), fishing piers and splash pads beginning Friday, May 22. Staff will be onsite to help encourage following the CDC guidelines, including social distancing.

This move was approved at a regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday and is part of the county’s phased-in approach for residents while still observing guidelines. Parks staff have placed additional signs advising of CDC guidelines at all sites.

Commissioners stressed it’s imperative that residents remain vigilant to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Commissioners reopened hiking trails April 22, and on April 29, beaches, parking lots, most outdoor spaces at parks and freestanding bathrooms were opened.

Additional details about the reopenings set for the coming weekend:

  • Staff will only allow 25 patrons into the pool at the top of every hour for 45 minutes to ensure social distancing and allow for physical exercise only.
  • Pools will be open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for laps and fitness only. Indoor showers and changing rooms will not be available at this time.
  • Youth swim teams will be able to practice under USA swimming’s guidelines.
  • Multi-purpose fields (soccer, lacrosse, and football) will reopen with no league play, benches or bleachers.
  • Activities on the multi-purpose fields will be restricted to groups of 10 or fewer to practice; some fields will need to be reserved and scheduled and some will be on first-come, first-serve basis. Contact the Parks & Recreation supervisor listed on each landing page at www.leeparks.org for the individual site that has the field. Or call the Parks main phone number at 239-533-7275 for assistance.
  • Parks Staff will continue to clean frequently at all sites and educate the public on social distancing and CDC guidelines.
  • Normal operating hours at all parks, preserves and beach-access sites will be observed.
  • Camping at Caloosahatchee Regional Park also will resume Friday.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will continue to assist with monitoring and educating the public at county beaches during the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

Recreation centers remain closed at this time.

Lee County Parks & Recreation summer camp plans continue to be finalized; camp will begin June 15. At this time, no new registration is being accepted. Parks staff booked more than 3,000 camp reservations when the 2020 camp registration opened in February.

Announcements about camp, county operations and other information will be forthcoming; check www.leegov.com/covid-19 or Facebook Lee County Government.

Libraries to open after Memorial Day

Libraries will also be open with limited service, hours and capacity beginning Tuesday, May 26.

The Cape Coral Lee County Library, East County Regional Library, Fort Myers Regional Library, Northwest Regional Library and South County Regional Library will open at 25% capacity with hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Previously announced contactless services and book returns will continue at all library system branches. Lakes Regional Library will not reopen its doors May 26 because of a previously scheduled project. The anticipated opening for this site is June 11.

At the five libraries that will reopen May 26, signs will be posted for following CDC guidelines and floors will be marked to indicate spacing for social distancing. Plexiglas shields are installed at all public service desks, and hand sanitizer and wipes will be provided to the public. The county has removed some furniture to encourage patrons to keep visits brief so that more patrons can enjoy the libraries.

Computer use will be limited to one hour per person per day. Play items in the youth areas have been removed, as has gaming equipment in the teen areas. Study rooms and meeting rooms are not open at this time.

Staff has identified capacity for each of the open libraries and will limit visitors to the building based on capacity.

The locations of the libraries that will open next week are:

  • Cape Coral Lee County Library, 921 SW 39th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33914
  • East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Road N., Lehigh Acres, FL 33971
  • Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First St., Fort Myers, FL 33901
  • Northwest Regional Library, 519 Chiquita Blvd. N., Cape Coral, FL 33993
  • South County Regional Library, 21100 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero, FL 33928

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