With 2021 now seven months complete, many would have expected the COVID-19 pandemic to be winding down and United States borders to be open. Yet, that’s not the case.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidance for those who are vaccinated in the wake of a significant surge of the Delta variant among Americans. The CDC recommends fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors in places with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates, which Pinellas County and Florida is deemed as such. In addition, the agency is recommending universal mask wearing for all teachers, staff and students of K-12 schools even if fully vaccinated. The decision comes ahead of a potential spike in cases this fall due to the Delta variant. Here’s a summary of recent CDC guidance changes.
If you’re a local business that needs free masks, please fill out this form and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will supply them.
To help determine risk level and monitor COVID-19 cases across the country, the CDC released a dashboard tracking coronavirus by county.
Many of these developments are why the U.S. is not planning to lift any travel restrictions at this time, according to recent reports.
The U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed through at least August 21. That despite Canada reopening its border to fully vaccinated Americans beginning August 9. Fully vaccinated Canadians returning to Canada no longer must quarantine but do have to complete pre-arrival and on-arrival PCR tests. That is why Air Canada resumed non-stop weekend service from Toronto to Tampa International Airport on July 17.
RED TIDE STILL PRESENT, COUNTY TESTING WATER DAILY
While Tampa Bay has seen dramatic improvement in its red tide levels, the destination is still seeing impacts from red tide and it’s expected red tide levels will ebb and flow through the next couple months. Pinellas County is continuing daily testing and the results, including respiratory irritation data, can be found at BeachesUpdate.com. For guests or front-line staff, here is a rack card with commonly asked questions. We continue to ask local businesses to let us know if you’re experiencing a loss in business due to red tide. Please email that information to [email protected]. The latest STR and KeyData reports show no lag in lodging and vacation rental performance due to red tide as occupancy is still at record levels with 2019 and Average Daily Rate (ADR) is well ahead of 2019 shattering records.
A TASTE OF LOVE WRAPS THREE WEEKS OF FILMING FRIDAY
The destinations’ latest Hallmark movie, A Taste of Love, wraps three weeks of filming on Friday. The production has filmed primarily in Dunedin and is a direct result of work from the St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission. It stars Erin Cahill, a Hallmark Channel favorite, Jesse Kove and Martin Kove of Karate Kid and Cobra Kai fame. Read more about its producer and get a behind-the-scenes look at being an extra.
ORDER FREE BOX OF CONCIERGE DESTINATION MAGAZINES
The concierge version of our award-winning Gulf to Bay magazine is purse-sized and serves as the perfect guide for locals and visitors alike to learn about the best of the area. Order FREE boxes, containing 52 copies per box, to display and distribute at your business.
HOSPITALITY WORKERS ENJOY FREE ADMISSION TO THE JAMES MUSEUM IN AUGUST
Throughout the month of August, The James Museum is offering free admission to all hospitality workers, including hotel, food service and tourism company employees. Workers can present a business card, badge or nametag as proof of employment.
THE BIG CLEAN UP CLEARWATER SLATED FOR OCT. 11-16
A week-long clean-up effort around Clearwater is happening Oct. 11-16. Businesses and organizations are encouraged to plan their own cleanups, while there will also be planned zones available for participants, too. At this stage, the effort is being led by Ocean Allies, Amplify Clearwater, Keep Pinellas Beautiful and the City of Clearwater.
NEWEST SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSWUIT ISSUE SHOT IN ST. PETE/CLEARWATER
You might recognize Fort De Soto Park on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Amidst the pandemic, Sports Illustrated utilized Fort De Soto Park across a number of days photographing models, including the cover with Leyna Bloom. Bloom made headlines for being the first trans person to land on the cover of the annual issue.