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Virus-related updates on island activities, more
March 25, 2020

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(Editor's note: To have an item or announcement added to the list, call 239-472-1587 or email Editor Tiffany Repecki at trepecki@breezenewspapers.com.)

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the following announcements have been reported on Sanibel and Captiva to date:

BAT YAM TEMPLE OF THE ISLANDS

The Bat Yam Temple of the Islands reported that its board of directors of the congregation, due to serious concerns raised by the coronavirus, voted unanimously to suspend all public activities, services, classes, its Passover Seder and the annual meeting immediately for a month.

The board will thereafter evaluate the severity of the situation and decide what to do then.

BAILEY-MATTHEWS NATIONAL SHELL MUSEUM

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is temporarily closed as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus. It will remain closed to visitors until further notice.

During the closure, a limited number of staff will maintain the building's operation and ensure the welfare of the animals.

For more information and updates, visit www.shellmuseum.org or follow on social media.

BIG ARTS

BIG ARTS has suspended all programming and activities until further notice, including Mike Super, workshops, rentals, band and chorus rehearsals and concerts, gallery exhibits and receptions, the FORUM, Monday Night films and the Annual Benefit. In addition, the building will be closed to all public traffic.

It is offering ticket-holders the following options:

- Donate tickets and tuition cost. As a nonprofit arts organization, BIG ARTS relies on the generosity and support of its donors. In this difficult time, which will have significant financial impact, it is hoping the public will choose to donate tickets, tuition fee and benefit gifts. All donations are tax deductible.

- Request a refund by contacting info@bigarts.org

BIG ARTS will continue to monitor developments and will implement and communicate any additional changes.

CAPTIVA CHAPEL BY THE SEA

The Captiva Chapel by the Sea has canceled its services and activities for the remainder of the season, including its annual Blessing of the Animals scheduled for March 29.

CAPTIVA COMMUNITY PANEL - MONDAY AFTER THE MASTERS

The Captiva Community Panel announced that Monday after the Masters, which was scheduled for April 13, has been canceled. A new rescheduled date in the fall is being considered for the event.

CAPTIVA ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Captiva Island Historical Society has canceled its program scheduled for April 6, "Sentimental Journey - Captiva's War Years Memories."

Those who have already reserved tickets will be issued a full refund.

The CIHS will reschedule the program for early next season.

CAPTIVA MEMORIAL LIBRARY

As of March 18, the Captiva Memorial Library is closed to the public for 30 days.

Other adjustments and reminders regarding services include:

- The book return site will close on March 26. Patrons are asked to refrain from leaving materials next to the book return after that date. No late fees will be charged.

- Due dates for all physical items have been extended and requested materials will be held at library locations until they reopen. There will be no fines charged for days the libraries are closed.

- Library card expiration dates have been extended to ensure access to online services available at www.leelibrary.net

- Telephone Reference staff is available to provide assistance from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 239-533-4636.

- The Library System's downloadable books, streaming video and other online content is available 24/7 at www.leelibrary.net.

Lee County has a dedicated landing page at www.leegov.com/covid-19/ to inform the public of the status of public meetings and facilities. The website will be updated as decisions are made.

COMMUNITY HOUSING AND RESOURCES

The Community Housing and Resources offices are closed, but staff members are working from home and will continue to maintain CHR operations. In addition, the Rauschenberg Estate Tour fundraiser scheduled for April 2 has been rescheduled to Nov. 12.

Staff can be reached at 239-472-1189, info@sanibelchr.org or www.sanibelchr.org.

CROW

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife reported that its Visitor Education Center closure has been extended until further notice, including the cancellation of all on-site education programs.

If possible, seasonal programs including Speaker Series events and the Lunch & Learns will be rescheduled at a later date. Check CROW's social media and website for future updates.

Additionally, its fundraiser - Southern Comfort on Sanibel on April 3 - has been postponed. Anyone who has purchased a ticket or sponsorship for the event will receive direct communication from CROW's Development Director regarding the event.

The Wildlife Hospital will remain open during normal operating hours to accept and treat wildlife patients. If you find injured, sick or orphaned wildlife, call 239-472-3644 Ext. 222.

FARMERS MARKETS - LOCAL ROOTS

Local Roots reported that the Sanibel Island Farmers Market, held on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Captiva Island Farmers Market, held on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be open as scheduled. For questions, contact Market Manager Jean Baer at Jmbaer@comcast.net.

F.I.S.H. OF SANIBEL-CAPTIVA

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva reported that while there may be changes made to aspects of its operations, it plans to continue running its largest programs, uninterrupted. These programs include:

- Food pantry

- Meals-by-F.I.S.H. meal delivery

- Food backpacks for children

- Emergency financial assistance

For more information, contact 239-472-0404 or visit www.fishofsancap.org.

ISLAND JAZZ

The Island Jazz has canceled its Sunday performances in the BIG ARTS Garden for the season.

J.N. 'DING' DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE/TARPON BAY EXPLORERS

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge reported that it has canceled its free winter tours and programming and the Visitor & Education Center and Tarpon Bay Explorers is closed to the public.

Wildlife Drive and the refuge's trails remain open to the public, as well as the restrooms along the drive and outside of the visitor center; fees are not being collected from those accessing Wildlife Drive.

In addition, the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge reported the canceling of the following scheduled events:

- March 27: Jack Davis lectures

- April 1: "Bird of Prey" film showing

- April 3: Jeri Magg lectures

Also, the Refuge Nature Store and DDWS offices are closed to the public.

For more information, visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/covid-19.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF SANIBEL

The League of Women Voters of Sanibel has canceled its March 31 event.

NOAH'S ARK

The Noah's Ark thrift store is closed until further notice.

PROGRESSIVE CLUB OF THE ISLANDS

The Progressive Club of the Islands has suspended all public events, like membership meetings and happy hours, due to the coronavirus pandemic until further notice.

SANCAP CARES - ISLAND CELEBRATION

SanCap Cares reported that the 20th Annual Island Celebration, set for March 29 at The Sanctuary Golf Club to benefit the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, has been postponed.

It is encouraging donors to contribute and it is working to put its auction and other items online.

SANIBEL-CAPTIVA AUDUBON SOCIETY

The Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society has canceled its remaining bird walks for the season, which includes the ones scheduled for March 28 and April 4.

SANIBEL-CAPTIVA CONSERVATION FOUNDATION

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation reported that to support the health and safety of the community, all programming and events are canceled until further notice.

The cancellations include Beer in the Bushes on April 11.

Refunds for Beer in the Bushes and all SCCF program tickets are available by emailing refunds@sccf.org for the next 30 days, until April 15. For those who wish to convert their ticket to a donation, no action is required; they will auto-convert and holders will receive a donation receipt.

The SCCF's public closures include the Nature Center, all offices, the Sanibel Sea School and Bailey Homestead Preserve's Native Landscapes & Garden Center, which will remain closed to the public until further notice. The SCCF will continue to monitor public health risks and will provide updates on its ongoing work, including uplifting and inspiring photos and videos of nature on social media.

Closures do not include the over eight miles of nature trails the SCCF offers across the island.

For questions or more information, email sccf@sccf.org. Stay tuned to updates and announcements from the SCCF through its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts or visit online at sccf.org.

SANIBEL AND CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce ceased its visitor center operations as of March 17 for a two-week period, at which time it will re-evaluate based on government mandates and CDC recommendations. In addition, the chamber's annual meeting set for April 14 has been canceled.

Until March 31, its standard operating procedures will include:

- Closure of the visitor center lobby and bathrooms

- Placing the portable cart at the entrance with signage on front door explaining the operation

- One staff member will check the cart twice daily to replenish stock of daily vacancy, visitor guides and rack cards, as well as to check mail and send out wedding and relocation packets

- Front door signage will contain main phone number for personal assistance between 9a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week

- Front door signage will also contain chamber of commerce names and email addresses for inquiries and membership questions

- Front door signage will direct visitors who would like additional information to The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club with address and directions.

The chamber team will be working from home and can be contacted via email, with a response anticipated within 24 business hours.

SANIBEL BICYCLE CLUB

The Sanibel Bicycle Club announced the cancellation of all club activities, including the potluck social on April 13. The board also canceled all club-sponsored weekly and off-island rides until May. Members are urged to continue riding, but solo.

SANIBEL CAPTIVA LIONS CLUB - ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR

The Sanibel Captiva Lions Club has canceled its 37th Annual Arts and Crafts Fair, which was scheduled for March 27-28 at The Community House on Sanibel.

SANIBEL CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ reported that its church council, in accord with its pastoral team, has decided to cancel all committee meetings and other church sponsored events, including Bible study, yoga and theological studies.

Worship services have been suspended.

The church's preschool is closed for vacation next week. It will continue to monitor the situation with the Lee County School District. Unless notified otherwise, the steps will be in place until March 31.

For more information, visit www.sanibelucc.org.

SANIBEL FLYFISHERS

The Sanibel FlyFishers has canceled or postponed its activities through April 15, including its club speaker night scheduled for April 2. It will evaluate the situation as it evolves and will inform members of any changes or modifications.

SANIBEL HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND VILLAGE

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is closed until further notice.

In addition, the Volunteer Luncheon on March 30 and the Twilight Talk on April 7 have been canceled. People may request a refund, or consider their ticket as a tax-deductible contribution to the village.

Email messages to info@sanibelmuseum.org for the quickest response. Alternatively, you can leave a message at 239-472-4648; messages will be returned as quickly as possible. People may also call Executive Director Emilie Alfino on her personal cell phone at 239-357-1644 if necessary.

For updates and more information, visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.

SANIBEL MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Sanibel Music Festival has canceled the remaining concerts for its 2020 season.

The Emerson String Quartet and Opera Theater of Connecticut Singing Andrew Lloyd Webber have been rescheduled for next year on March 2 and March 16; tickets for the concerts will be honored.

To request a refund, email Info@sanibelmusicfestival.org by April 15.

To arrange to transfer tickets to any concert or a mix of concerts next season, email 2020TicketsInfo@sanibelmusicfestival.org by April 30.

For donations, contact Info@sanibelmusicfestival.org or 239-344-7025 by April 30.

For more information, visit www.sanibelmusicfestival.org.

SANIBEL PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Sanibel Public Library is closed. The closure will be in effect for a few weeks, depending on of developments of COVID-19 and public health guidelines.

All programs and meetings, including the library district's board of commissioners meeting, are postponed or cancelled.

Operationally, the library reported that:

- All overdue fines and user fees are waived during the closure

- The library is implementing automatic renewal of library cards

- All books and other materials placed on hold by users will be suspended and remain on hold for pickup when library reopens

- The drive-up book drop located on the west side of the parking garage, near the exit, is available for book and other materials returns

- The library's eShelf and all online services remain available 24/7 including downloading of ebooks and audiobooks, streaming of movies and music, access to magazines and newspapers, language learning, and access to personal library accounts

The library will provide further information and frequent updates at www.sanlib.org.

For questions or comments, email notices@sanlib.org.

SANIBEL RECREATION CENTER/YOUTH PROGRAM

The Sanibel Recreation Center is closed to the public until further notice due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Also, the city's youth programs are suspended until further notice.

SANIBEL SEA SCHOOL

The Sanibel Sea School has canceled its Octifest on the Beach scheduled for April 4.

Officials reported that it planned to celebrate ocean love and the organization's founders during the event on the Sanibel Causeway; now it will do it online. Stay tuned for more information.

Refunds are available at refunds@sccf.org until April 15. For those who wish to convert their ticket to a donation, no action is required; they will auto-convert and holders will receive a donation receipt.

ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS EPISCOPAL CHURCH

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church has suspended worship services, meetings and events until further notice. Meanwhile, morning prayer will be live-streamed on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

THE COMMUNITY HOUSE

The Community House reported that the following programs have been canceled:

- Today, March 25: Community Social from 6 to 8 p.m.

- March 30: Guest Chef Culinary Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon

THE INTERNATIONAL OSPREY FOUNDATION

The International Osprey Foundation has canceled its annual meeting set for March 26.

President Susan Tucker said the board made the decision to limit any potential for further exposure to the coronavirus. For more information and updates, visit www.ospreys.com.

THE SANIBEL SCHOOL PTA - SEAHORSE FESTIVAL

The Sanibel School PTA reported that the annual Seahorse Festival scheduled for March 28 has been canceled. Officials are in the process of rescheduling the event for early November.

In the meantime, the silent auction portion of the festival is still happening and will take place online starting the first week in April. The PTA is collecting auction items and will pick them up.

For donations, contact Chris Demaras at Christine@mobilefoodgroupnj.com.

In addition, the PTA is encouraging the community to visit online at thesanibelschoolpta.com and contribute to its ongoing campaign of "$100 from 300)" to help raise funds for the school.

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