COVID-19 Industry Update
June 22, 2020
With local and statewide COVID-19 cases increasing, here is a list of resources to help implement best practices to keep your employees and your customers safe during this time.
- FRLA guidance for restaurants and lodging
- Pinellas County guidelines for restaurants
- AHLA enhanced hotel cleaning standards
- Vacation rental guidelines
- List of suggestions and plans
The Pinellas County Board of County Commission is meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday and it will discuss the latest regarding COVID-19.
Given the local increase, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is re-evaluating its marketing plans and messaging.
Here are other relevant updates:
EXPEDIA OFFERS HOTELIERS RECOVERY PROGRAM
In an effort to help hotels recover from business lost due to COVID-19, Expedia Group has launched a recovery program that’s available to St. Pete/Clearwater hotels. The program provides critical support across key priority areas identified by Expedia Group’s lodging partners, including access to proprietary local market data, marketing credits, financial relief and support for furloughed and displaced workers. To opt-in, contact Katy Satterfield at [email protected].
ST. PETE, TAMPA MASK ORDERS IN PLACE
As of 5 p.m. Friday, all St. Pete businesses were required to have employees wear a face mask or covering while in areas of the business open to the public. In addition, St. Pete businesses have to create and post a specific COVID-19 mitigation plan, which identifies contact points for possible exposure and spread and how those risks are being addressed. The St. Pete order is for all businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms, retail establishments, salons and barbershops. At the same time on Friday in Tampa, its order went into effect and requires all Tampa residents, in addition to those working at businesses, to wear masks indoors when outside their home. Its order can be read here. On Monday, Hillsborough County passed a mandatory mask order that starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday, requiring all indoor business operators to enforce. The order requires anyone entering an indoor business to wear a mask.
AHLA RELEASES STAY SAFE PROGRAM FOR LODGING INDUSTRY
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has developed a Stay Safe program, which established industry-wide guidelines for hotel cleaning standards that include actions for both employees and guests to take. The program guidelines can be found here.
CDC RELEASES UPDATED GUIDELINES FOR EVENTS & GATHERINGS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines for events and gatherings. The CDC recommends that event planners and officials “determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”
ST. PETE PIER TO OPEN JULY 6
The new Pier District and St. Pete Pier will open at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 6, the City announced on Friday. The 26-acre waterfront playground features a marketplace of local vendors, a family park with playground, Spa Beach and Spa Beach Park, a splash pad, tilted lawn, Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, multiple restaurants and stunning views of downtown and Tampa Bay. Due to COVID-19, no organized mass gathering will coincide with the opening. Late last week, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater conducted an in-house photoshoot at the Pier in partnership with the City to help with the creation of marketing assets.
ST. PETE FIGHTING CHANCE FUND RELAUNCHES TUESDAY
Applications for Round 3 of St. Pete’s Fighting Chance Fund become available at 8 a.m. Tuesday with the remaining $3.3 million set aside for home-based businesses (60 percent), brick and mortars (30 percent) and franchises (10 percent). Applications will be processed in a first-come, first-complete manner until funds are exhausted. Complete information here.
FLORIDA GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE NOW SLATED FOR OCT. 14 - 16
Visit Florida announced last week that the 2020 Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism will take place Oct. 14-16 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. The three-day event features breakout sessions, networking and Visit Florida’s recovery efforts. Registration begins in July.
SPORTS LEAGUES DESCENDING ON FLORIDA
The WNBA became the latest sports league to finalize its return, announcing last week a 22-game season to take place at IMG Academy in Bradenton starting with a training camp in early July. NBA and MLS both previously announced return plans for July at Walt Disney World.