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Allegiant halts Sunseeker construction; workers say they were unaware

Construction has stopped for the highly-anticipated Sunseeker Resort by Allegiant Air in Charlotte Harbor Wednesday for coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention. And some workers were not aware of those changes.

Dozens of cranes, tractors and building materials are scattered throughout the construction site. But workers will not be present for a while, as they are temporarily out of a job.

Peggy Smith and her brother, George Welch, walk past Charlotte Harbor and the Sunseeker construction site a few days a week and listen to the progress.

“Cement trucks, supplies, people,” Welch said.

“Lots of workers,” Smith said. “Lots of workers.”

But Allegiant announced it will immediately suspend construction at the resort and related renovations at Kingsway Country Club. However, we saw crews actively working high and low at the resort Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s looked like they were still working today,” Smith said.

And those workers say they had no idea of the suspension around noon.

Allegiant says it doesn’t know if this will impact the resort’s opening or how long the site will stay empty of workers.

“I would hate to just see it sitting there decaying,” Smith said.

And Allegiant shared a full statement with us in response to worker we spoke to who were not yet aware of the halted construction”

“There have been about 400 construction workers on site daily over the past few weeks. That number of course varied depending on the work being done each day. Contractors have been notified and are in the process of winding down current activities, the timing of which will vary by trade. It may take a few days for that process to be completed. Construction workers are employed by the project contractors and subcontractors, and not by Allegiant/Sunseeker.”

We reached out to the project’s main contractor. They are not sure what will happen with the workers but are in the process of figuring out those details.

“The safety and the health of the people is more important than economics right now,” said Dave Gammon, the economic development director of Charlotte County.

Other businesses impacted by pandemic

On the other side of the harbor in Punta Gorda, only two bars in the city have to shut down for the next month.

The city fire marshal is working with open restaurants to determine how many people are allowed in their building and help keep them separated.

“We are in an elderly community, and people are concerned with their health,” said Lee Richarson, the co-owner of Leroy’s Southern Kitchen.

Those restaurants are deep cleaning and screening employees for sickness, all to keep families healthy.

“Go about business as we can and hope that we can weather the storm,” Richardson said.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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