COVID-19 Industry Update

May 14, 2020

As the destination prepares for another busy weekend, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is working on continued messaging and promotion of the Sheriff’s beach capacity dashboard, which will be active this weekend as well as Memoral Day Weekend.

Stay tuned for more updates on that Friday, along with downloadable signage and digital cards to supply guests before arriving at your business.

Also, we’re eager to promote all of the new consumer safety measures our partners are implementing, so please send all that you’re doing to [email protected].

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Rescheduled for Oct. 23-25

Joining the likes of St. Pete Pride and the SHINE Mural Festival, the Firestone Grand Prix has been rescheduled to Fall 2020. Race organizers announced Wednesday that the annual event will take place Oct. 23-25 and serve as the IndyCar Series’ championship race rather than the season opener, which its traditionally been. Historically, October is one of St. Pete/Clearwater’s slowest visitor months of the year, but will see at least two notable area events this year with SHINE rescheduled for Oct. 18-26.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Reopens Today

For the first time in 60 days, Clearwater Marine Aquarium will open its doors for the public today. Coordinating its efforts with state and local officials, CMA is limiting attendance to 25% of normal capacity, using touchless transactions, requiring advanced ticket purchase with time and date of visit, requiring guest-facing staff to wear facemasks, implementing daily temperature checks for all staff and more.  

Deadline for Clearwater Grant Program Sunday

Clearwater has identified up to $4 million to provide emergency relief funds for small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19. Small businesses in need of emergency funding can register and pre-qualify online for the Clearwater Back-to-Business Grant and Professional Services Program ahead of a random selection process of businesses that will be invited to complete a grant application. Registration and pre-qualification applicants must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 17.

St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport Action Plan

As air travel starts to pick up, St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport has rolled out what it’s doing to make sure passengers feel safe. Among the measures are new plexiglass dividers at TSA and ticket counters, new floor decals 6-feet apart for all queues, requiring airport employees and terminal tenants to wear face coverings and increased cleaning and sanitation protocols. Read the full plan here.

St. Pete, Clearwater Embracing Temporary Outdoor Expansions

With indoor restaurant and retail being limited to 25% occupancy, both St. Pete and Clearwater have made efforts to allow for additional outdoor space. St. Pete recently released 11-page guidelines for businesses, while Clearwater has approved a temporary street closure of the 400 and 500 blocks of Cleveland Street in Downtown Clearwater through May 31.

Allegiant Details Latest Customer Travel Sentiment

Allegiant released Part 8 of its customer traveler sentiment tracking survey this week and it details specifically how Allegiant customers are feeling about the current situation, future travel plans and more. Read the full survey here

Sojern Unveils Flight Search, Booking Data

While the travel industry embraces for months of road trips, Sojern is sharing positive data on the domestic flight front and has created a spreadsheet to access the data. The data is indexed against the week of April 5, which was the low point of domestic flight searches this year. Obviously, flight intent is down dramtically year-over-year, but flight bookings to Florida since that low point have increased by 138%. Sojern captures 100% of real-time travel intent signals through data partnerships with leading OTAs, airlines, hotels, car rental companies, vacation rental companies and more.

U.S Travel Details Latest Priorities for Next Relief Bill

As negotiations for the next relief bill are ongoing, U.S. Travel has created and circulated its top priorities for the travel industry to congressional leadership and other key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. U.S. Travel’s asks focus on providing additional relief to the industry, liability protections to allow travel businesses to reopen, the increased need for federal testing and several stimulus measures to help restart the economy.

New Global Facility Accreditation Program Announced

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) has rolled out a GBAC STAR facility accreditation program on cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. The program is performance-based and designed to help facilities establish a comprehensive system of cleaning for their staff and building. The program already has commitments from Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, McCormick Place in Chicago and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, among others.

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