COVID-19 Industry Update
May 22, 2020
Memorial Day is always a special celebration for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.
It’s also one of those big weekends for travel and St. Pete/Clearwater. It comes at a vital time for all of you in our quest for Brighter Days Ahead.
We hope by now you’re already seeing the increased business many of us expect this weekend and this signals the official start to summer that we all hope for! Be well and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
PINELLAS CARES PROGRAMS UPDATE
Eligible individuals and families have until June 1 to request emergency help paying for overdue rent and utilities. So far, Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance has helped more than 130 people pay for overdue rent or utilities, with another 641 requests in progress. Applicants can text COVIDCARES to 898211 to start the process or visit this website for more information on qualifications. Since opening applications on May 4, Pinellas County has received 3,846 completed applications and issued 378 checks totaling $1.89 million to eligible businesses with approved applications for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant. Small business owners with a commercial location in the county have until June 1, 2020, to complete their application online, to be considered for a one-time $5,000 grant to cover COVID-19 related expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and mortgage or rent costs.
TRIPADVISOR SEES CLEARWATER INTEREST SKYROCKET
According to the media giant TripAdvisor on Thursday, the U.S. has all of the top six highest-growth destination cities worldwide, including Clearwater. Clearwater is joined with Myrtle Beach, San Diego, Sedona and Phoenix in the top 5.
ST. PETE CLOSING PORTIONS OF BAYSHORE FOR PEDESTRIANS
Starting at 8 a.m. this morning and until further notice, St. Pete closed a portion of Bayshore Drive NE, which runs along Tampa Bay, between 5th Avenue and 2nd Avenue, to vehicle traffic. The move gives more space for pedestrians to properly physical distance while out.
MILLION DOLLAR MISSION LAUNCHED LOCALLY
LocalShops1 and I Love the Burg have partnered to launch Million Dollar Mission, an effort to drive $1 million in sales to local makers and small businesses. The mission is simple: get 50,000 people to each spend $20 (or more) and infuse the local economy with much-needed revenue. It’s free for Tampa Bay-based artists, makers and independently owned small businesses to participate.
ORLANDO TOURISM ROUNDTABLE INCLUDES U.S. TRAVEL
Governor Ron DeSantis and Vice President Mike Pence participated in a Florida tourism roundtable in Orlando on Wednesday. Among the participants was U.S. Travel, communicating the tragic data behind the industry’s unemployment and struggles in an effort to push for more relief for the industry. The roundtable also included the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Sea World and Walt Disney World, among others. Watch the roundtable here.
TOURISM INDUSTRY SEES 51% UNEMPLOYMENT
U.S. Travel and Tourism Economics' most recent analysis of the pandemic’s effects on the industry are grim. The most recent data shows the travel industry is already in a depression with overall industry unemployment at 51%---twice the rate of the worst year of the Great Depression---and losses of $519 billion by year’s end.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS LIKELY TO BE EXTENDED
The Trump administration is preparing to extend international travel restrictions and border control measures. Separately, officials announced earlier this week that the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders would remain closed to nonessential travel through June 21.
TSA ROLLING OUT NATIONWIDE CHANGES BY MID-JUNE
The Transportation Security Administration is beginning to implement new procedures that are meant to help protect both TSA agents and travelers as travel is expected to pick up over the next couple of months. Among the changes include limiting contact with boarding passes, placing food into a clear bag and reminding travelers to pack smart to eliminate any need to make contact with bags. Also, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. At this time, TSA will not be performing temperature checks on travelers despite that being rumored.
CDC RELEASES NEW GUIDANCE FOR REOPENING
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA OPENING JUNE 5
Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay will welcome guests beginning June 5. This carefully managed reopening comes with stringent new health, safety and hygiene procedures in place, including mandatory face coverings while visiting and temperature checks upon arrival.