Organizations Continue Announcing Closings, Postponements

Schools, businesses and other organizations in Lakeland have announced closings and event postponements in efforts to prevent spread of the coronavirus. We’ve compiled many of the announcements here.

While no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Polk County, numerous local organizations are canceling public events and taking other precautions following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suggestion that mass gatherings be held off. We’ll post updates here as we get them:

Monday, March 16 Updates:

Habitat for Humanity, 1317 George Jenkins Blvd., will close its office and Restore starting today with plans reopen on April 1

Posted Monday, March 16:

The Polk Museum of Art is closed to the public until further notice

The Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department is canceling or postponing various events and classes at Kelly Rec Center, Gandy Pool, Simpson Park, Coleman-Bush Building and the Lakr Mirror Complex, as well as some tennis events and adult leagues. Check this post for details.

The Dream Center of Lakeland announced Sunday it is canceling its programs for the next two weeks. Grocery distribution will continue Tuesday and Thursday evenings, except this Tuesday, when volunteers will be off for St. Patrick’s Day.

Watson Clinic has postponed all of its scheduled community lectures.

Citrus Connection has added grocery trips to the services it provides for its door-to-door/paratransit clients. Last week, the agency limited those clients to medical trips only in response to coronavirus concerns. Grocery trips will be available on Tuesdays only from March 23 to April 15.

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is rescheduling all events through April 30, including the its Legislative Wrap-Up, now scheduled for May 14.

Southeastern University intercollegiate athletics are on hold after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced today it has canceled the 2020 spring season. 

The Lakeland Code Enforcement Board meeting schedule for March 24 has been postponed until April 28.

Posted Sunday, March 15:

Southeastern University is switching to online instruction starting Tuesday following a one-day cancellation of classes Monday. University housing and dining services remain open.

Explorations V Children’s Museum is closed to the public March 16-27, 2020. Tax appointments and spring break drop-off camps are not affected and will continue.

Lakeland Community Theatre‘s box office will be closed and classes canceled through the end of March. A Facebook post details various postponements.

Posted Saturday, March 14:

Publix stores will closing at 8 p.m. nightly starting today to “to conduct additional preventive sanitation.”

City of Lakeland has kept its facilities open for now. At all three libraries, all library-sponsored programs, classes and events are canceled from March 16 to April 11. The city is posting updates to its emergency response pages.

Polk Health Department has opened a telephone information line. Call 863-519-7911 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Posted Friday, March 13:

Polk Public Schools, like public schools throughout Florida, will be closed March 16-27, with an expected reopening date of March 30. During that period, schools will get a deep cleaning, Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said in a Facebook Live announcement.

Lunches will be served March 17-20 (list of locations). Instruction will not be given during that period, she said, and there has been no decision yet on whether the school year will be extended. State testing is being delayed at least two weeks, she said. Byrd urged parents and students to follow the school system website and social media for updates and to expect robocalls.

Polk Public Schools announced earlier that school-sponsored events with more than 250 attendees, including proms, will be canceled until April 13. Check for updates.

Polk State College will halt instruction March 16-29, including online classes. During that time, faculty and staff will work on transitioning courses to fully or partially online starting when classes resume March 30 at the end of spring break. Custodial staff will thoroughly clean and sanitize the campuses, Polk State said in a news release.

Sun n Fun Fly-in is delaying until May 5-10 because of coronavirus concerns. The organization’s executive director sought city commissioners’ support for that decision and received it. Final decision on whether to proceed is targeted at April 17. 

Please submit local updates to [email protected].

* Check Bay News 9 for live updates spanning the Tampa Bay area
* Check the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center for general information.

Southeastern University remains open. Sun Conference athletic competition will be suspended until Friday, March 27. Check for updates.

Lakeland Regional Health is screening visitors to the Emergency Department, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Trauma Intensive Care Unit and Medical Intensive Care Unit.

Farmers Market: The Downtown Curb Market is closed on Saturday, but Swan Brewing is hosting some of the produce dealers and bakers whose products would have gone bad from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Courts: All jury trials in Polk County are canceled for two weeks. Jurors Called to report March 16 and March 23 should not report. The courthouse is scheduled to remain open and all Clerk of the Court departments and services are available during normal business hours.

 All Saints Academy, following the recommendations of the Florida Department of Education, closed today until March 30.  Students will move to Distance Learning beginning March 17. 

The Schools of McKeel Academy will be closed March 16-27.

Lakeland Flying Tigers are delaying the start of play, along with the rest of minor league baseball.

Imperial Symphony Orchestra‘s Peter & the Wolf concert, scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed.

Haus 820 Spring Market, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce’s speed networking, scheduled for March 18, has been postponed.

Sewing & Quilt Expo at RP Funding Center, scheduled for next week, has been postponed.

“Activized,” a documentary scheduled to be shown at the Polk Theatre by the Polk Democratic Party on Saturday, has been canceled.

Catapult Lakeland has canceled several events: 1 Million Cups Wednesdays mornings., Startup Grind March 31 and Launch Pitch Night on April 14.

Unpland Improv at Southeastern University March 20 has been postponed.

Jesse Carl Vinyl Record Store Day on Saturday and the after party at LkldLive have been postponed.

Lakeland Senior Dance Social Club Senior Dance is postponed.

7-Eleven grand opening at 7240 Kathleen Road, scheduled for March 20, has been postponed.

SCORE‘s March 27 workshop on building a sustainable business through technology has been postponed.

United Way of Central Florida is postponing the following events: Alexis de Tocqueville & Democratie Societies Annual Celebration scheduled for March 19; Family Fundamentals Pajama Party scheduled for March 19; Leadership Giving Association Annual Celebration and Lakeland Magic Game Presenting Night scheduled for March 24.

“The Art of Film,” scheduled for March 28 at the Polk Museum of Art, has been canceled.

Posted Thursday, March 12:

Florida Public Universities are shifting to online classes. Students at Florida Polytechnic University and other schools where Spring Break has ended are being urged to return home for two weeks. At the University of South Florida and others where Spring Break is ongoing or hasn’t started, students are being asked to stay home two weeks after classes would have resumed.

Florida Southern College is ending face-to-face instruction after Friday and will remotely teach classes beginning March 23. Students who live on-campus were urged to return home in an email sent today. The college has postponed this weekend’s Founder’s Day and Homecoming events. Athletic events will continue but without fans present, per NCAA guidance. Also, NCAA championships, including the Men’s Basketball South Region Championship, originally scheduled to be held at the Jenkins Field House at Florida Southern, have been canceled. Check for updates.

Citrus Connection public transportation is continuing to operate buses with more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles. ADA and para transit service is being limited to medical and medical-related appointments until further notice. The organization’s March 18 transportation summit has been postponed.

Detroit Tigers Spring Training games have been called off after today’s game against the Atlanta Braves, along with the rest of MLB Spring Training.

Lakeland Magic have suspended operations in keeping with NBA policy, including tonight’s home game against the Sioux Falls Skyforce sponsored by Lakeland Electric.

Florida Tropics will end the regular season in first place in the Eastern Conference with an 18-3 record after the Major Arena Soccer League halted the rest of the games.

Downtown Food Truck Rally, scheduled for tonight, has been canceled.

Downtown Curb Market on Saturday and the associated Sugarbuzz Dessert Festival and Gallery on the Promenade have been postponed until further notice.

Spring Obsession garden show, planned for Saturday in Munn Park, has been postponed.

AFI Central Florida Wine Festival, planned for Friday, is postponed. Check for updates.

Music Munndays, scheduled for Munn Park on Monday, has been postponed until further notice.

Polk Senior Games have canceled Friday and Saturday’s events as well as Monday’s closing ceremony.

Restaurants have been asked by the Florida Department of Agriculture to increase food safety procedures, according to this WFLA report that focuses on The Joinery.

First Friday in downtown Lakeland has been postponed until further notice.

Temple Emanuel’s “Taste of Lakeland” fund-raiser, scheduled for Sunday, will become a virtual event including an online auction at a later date.

Polk Veterans Council Honor Flight Mission 6 scheduled for April 28 has been postponed.

Special Olympics Florida has postponed/suspended all competitive events and training through the end of March.

Lakeland and Polk County governments are increasing the availability of hand sanitizers and disinfectant, especially in public places such as the RP Funding Center.

Polk 911 dispatchers have implemented a series of questions to determine whether callers might have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

Two polling places at senior facilities have been moved. For the March 17 presidential primary, voters who normally go to at The Estates should go to Gibsonia Baptist Church, 5440 U.S. 98 N., and those who normally vote at Florida Presbyterian Homes should go to Lake Mirror Center, 121 S. Lake Ave.

Florida Science Fair, scheduled for March 24-26 at the RP Funding Center, has been suspended.

Nursing homes are limiting visitors based on advice from Gov. Ron DeSantis.