COVID-19 Industry Update
April 20, 2020
As Visit St. Pete/Clearwater begins its fourth week working remotely, we want to remind you that we’re thinking about you, your family, your business and your employees. Every day that passes creates more hardship for the tourism community that makes this destination so vibrant.
Remember, we’re here for you. We will continue to keep you updated on the latest local, national and international information, provide actionable insights and host webinars that are worth your time. We’ve been thrilled by the overwhelming response to Thursday’s webinar with more than 250 people registered. If you’re not registered, sign up today!
New U.S. Chamber Save Small Business Grant
Available as of 3 p.m. today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has rolled out the Save Small Business Fund to grant $5,000 to businesses. Eligibility requirements are employing 3-20 people, being located in an economically vulnerable community and having been harmed financially by COVID-19. VSPC recommends eligible businesses apply immediately given there’s no timetable for how long the fund will be available.
VSPC President/CEO Steve Hayes is representing the tourism voice on Pinellas County's reopen group and CARES Act funding group. These groups will be critical to the county's reopening plans and local distribution of CARES Act funding that's anticipated for Pinellas County.
On Saturday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Florida schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. The last day of schools for Pinellas County was May 29.
Also Saturday, the U.S. and Canada agreed to keep their border closed to nonessential travel for another 30 days.
Federal Plan to Reopen
Late last week, the White House unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. Read the complete plan here.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater continues to work closely with our public relations teams in Germany, UK and New York City as we strive to keep St. Pete/Clearwater top-of-mind. Below are a few of the recent coverage highlights:
- TravelandLeisure.com: Stacey Leasca included Clearwater Beach in her piece titled, “Spot Dolphins in the Ocean With These Calming Beach Cams.” We shared the St. Pete/Clearwater webcams in our agency newsletter last week which Stacey received. The piece highlights beach webcams to tune into while in quarantine including Clearwater Beach and a link to the others on the VSPC website.
- WashingtonPost.com: Drew Jones, travel reporter for The Washington Post, included Clearwater Beach's live cam in the roundup piece titled, “No traveling? No problem. Vacation from home with these live streams from around the world.”
- Medium.com: As a result of our outreach and working with contributor Tony Bowles, he included St. Pete Pier in his roundup piece titled, “The Ultimate Post-COVID19 2020 Travel Guide For Everyone.” The piece highlights the Pier as the first listed in the article, describing the waterfront park, urban beach area, playground, restaurants, marketplace and more.
Destinations Florida Research
In partnership with Downs & St. Germain, Destinations Florida is collecting responses for its second wave of economic impact research related to COVID-19. All specific inputs are confidential, but the results will be aggregated and shared. Here are the results from the first wave. Please take 5 minutes and complete to give St. Pete/Clearwater proper representation in the overall study.