North Fort Myers communities taking virus seriously

Article Courtesy of  North Fort Myers Neighbor

By Chuck Ballaro     

Published April 12, 2020


If you had asked Catarina Dancer, HOA president at Buccaneer Estates, two weeks ago about the coronavirus, she would have said most of the residents there thought the threat was overblown.

Not anymore. Residents through the area's 55-plus communities are taking personal precautions, with their communities closing most or all of their common areas.

At Buccaneer Estates, a community where many of the residents are over 70, that has meant closing the swimming pool and clubhouse and asking residents not to gather in groups larger than 10 and to stay at least six feet apart.

"Now that the governor has instituted a stay-in-place order most people are doing that with the exception of a few stragglers who walk in the evening on their own," Dancer said. "You could drop a pin here and you can hear it echo."

Lazy Days Village now only allows two people in the sales office and has closed its pool and two clubhouses, according to Patty Phelan, property manger at the park. They are also practicing social distancing.

The same can be said for Bayshore Village, where HOA president Joe Addis said the residents are avoiding being in groups of more than five.

"It was tough to have to close the community area or the pool because it was a fun activity, but it's better to be safe than sorry," Addis said.

Annette Graley, HOA president at Lake Fairways, said the only people permitted inside are those who have a tag and that residents are heeding the restrictions.

"Nothing is going on here, everything has been shut down since March 21. The restaurants, the events, the golf course, clubhouse swimming pools and everything are under lockdown," Graley said. "Most of the residents are staying inside. They may go to the stores or go walk the dog, but they're taking it seriously."

In many communities, most of the seasonal residents have already gone home, though some still here are expected to stay because of the stay-at-home order.

Addis said with the exception of those who are Canadian, who have to leave to hold on to their government health insurance, most of the Bayshore residents have remained to stick it out here.

"They don't want to carry anything home with them or having to stop on their way home at an unknown place and passing it around or getting it themselves," Addis said.

People are coming to the aid of the more elderly by picking up their prescription and groceries they need.

"I've been buying things for people and bringing it to them," said Addis, who works at Lowe's part time. "They're offering toilet paper and other things, so, we're really looking out for each other."

"Some of the residents are helping those who can't get out and are volunteering their services for those people," Graley said.

"There is going to be that small minority who believe they are immortal. They held out until the governor said that's it," Dancer said, adding they now are taking things seriously. "Our community has really come together, and that's the positive part of it."