Some events changed or canceled due to COVID-19 fears

As fears about the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic spread, some local events have been canceled or postponed.

Dollar General Stores have instituted a “Senior Shopping Hour” beginning on Tuesday, March 17 at 8 a.m. Seniors are able to shop when the stores are at their cleanest and are fully stocked. Dollar General is not specifying an age for seniors, but asks the public to please respect this hour for our most vulnerable citizens. The stores will be closing an hour earlier each night to clean and restock.

Okeechobee County Fair has been canceled. Please pick up all competitive event entries as soon as possible.

Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show has been canceled.

The hogs are in the barn and they will sell! Market steers will be weighed and they too, will sell. Non-Market animals slated to sell, will still sell. (Non-Market sale animals call the Okeechobee Youth LIvestock admin at 863-697-1565 to ensure your animal is in the sale order!)

We WILL have a sale, it will be online, please follow us closely for updates regarding that. The barn MUST be cleared by 6pm today (Monday). All OYLS activities after 6pm tonight are canceled.

Glades Electric Co-op: lobbies will be closed in all locations effective immediately. The drive thru in Moore Haven will remain open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Payments can be made over the phone at 844-201-7203, via the SmartHub app, online at gladeselectric.com or at Money Gram locations. For further assistance, call 863-946-6200.

Walmart closing 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.: Starting March 15, Okeechobee Walmart and the Clewiston Walmart starting closing between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Okeechobee Walmart gave the reason for the change as: “due to changing business dynamics,” according to a notice posted on their website. Clewiston Walmart’s website said the reduction on store hours was “due to the federally declared state of emergency.”

Publix stores closing at 8 p.m.: Starting Saturday, March 14, Publix Supermarkets starting closing 8 p.m. “To better serve our customers, give our store teams time to conduct additional preventive sanitation and restock product on shelves, beginning Saturday, March 14, Publix Super Markets will adjust store and pharmacy hours companywide to close at 8 p.m. nightly until further notice,” was posted on the company’s website.

Raulerson Hospital: until further notice, all volunteer services will be unavailable including the gift shop. At this time, visitors are still allowed but are being screened.

Young at Heart Senior Center: Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the center will be closed to the public. Senior Services will be available by telephone only 863-462-5180.

Okeechobee County Veterans’ Services: Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the center will be closed to the public. Veteran Services will be available by telephone only 863-763-6441 ext.5

Polling locations for the upcoming elections: All polling locations are scheduled to be open. Hand washing stations will be available at the entrances.

Okeechobee AARP Tax-Aide Services have been suspended until further notice.

Okeechobee Health Care Facility: No visitors are being admitted per orders from CMS which is the governing body for nursing homes. They follow the Center for Disease Control guidelines and sent an email out early Saturday morning, March, 14 with instructions.

Okeechobee Correctional Institution: Following the State of Emergency issued in response to COVID-19 in Florida, Florida Department of Corrections has suspended visitation at all correctional institutions statewide through April 5, at which time the decision will be reevaluated. Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation. Legal visits will not be impacted.

  • Anyone entering a correctional institution will be screened, and entrance will be restricted if they:
  • Have traveled and returned from China, Iran, Italy or South Korea within the last 14 days.
  • Have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough, shortness of breath.
  • Have had contact with someone who has or is under investigation for COVID-19.

Florida University System
The State University System of Florida has asked students to immediately shift to online classes. Students are expected to be out of the classrooms for at least two weeks.

Indian River State College
Indian River State College is on Spring Break next week (through March 22). Members of the IRSC community have been strongly encouraged to consider deferring non-essential international travel during spring break and in the months ahead. Employees who travel to impacted Level 3 countries (indicated above) over Spring Break or in the months ahead will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Students who travel to impacted Level 3 countries over Spring Break or in the months ahead will be required to self-isolate and not return to campus for 14 days after arriving home. They must also contact the local Department of Health, as well as the IRSC Health and Wellness Center and the Vice President of Student Affairs at 772-462-4706.

For news updates on IRSC see their website atirsc.edu/coronavirus-update. Click HERE for a story about event cancellations.

Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach State College announced Friday that the college will suspend classes from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 22, for the college to make the necessary preparations to provide remote instruction beginning on Monday, March 23.

A statement was posted March 13 on the college’s website: “Based on the latest developments of the COVID-19 outbreak in Florida and in particular Palm Beach County, Palm Beach State College will transition its spring courses to remote instruction. Staff and faculty will continue to report to their regular work location to ensure the continuation of services to students throughout the entirety of the spring semester. The college is not closing.”

Many upcoming events in Lake Okeechobee region communities are being canceled due to edicts from local, state and federal governments of precautionary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Events canceled
Many public events have been canceled or postponed. Among them are:
GLADES COUNTY
• March 16: Glades County Library RAF Training School Presentation
• March 21: Glades Electric Coop annual meeting
• March 21: Ortona Community Association Spaghetti Dinner
• March 28: Muse Honey Festival is cancelled

Okeechobee County

  • Thursday, March 19: Dairy Queen Free Cone day has been postponed.
  • March 14-April 30: All Extension and 4-H programs including county events, district events, area horse show, state dairy show, leader celebration, Southeast Dairy Stewardship Program, Pasture Weed Field Day are postponed.
  • Tuesday, March 24: Quarters for a Cause: Benefit for Amanda Arnold has been postponed until April 21.
  • March 28: Kiwanis Club Radio Auction has been postponed.


HENDRY COUNTY
• March 21: Clewiston Sugar Festival
• April 8: LIHEAP sign-up
• March 28: Medicare 101 program for Medicare beneficiaries

Palm Beach County

  • March 28-29 Gay Pride Festival, Bryant Park
  • April 4 Black Gold Jubilee postponed until October 3

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