COVID-19 Industry Update
March 26, 2021
After the most challenging time in our destination’s history, we’re going to continue celebrating the positive momentum we’re seeing with visitation and vaccine expansion.
St. Pete/Clearwater saw one of the best weeks of occupancy ever as it ran 92.4% for the week of March 14-20, according to STR. That week saw five days greater than 90% occupancy, even outpacing 2019, which ran at 90.4%. Saturday, March 20, peaked at 96.4% and is quite the contrast from a year ago when the destination saw just a 27.3% occupancy on that same day as COVID-19 became reality and travel stopped.
Average Daily Rate (ADR) for the week held its own at $205.31, just behind 2019’s $212.54.
On top of that, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state is lowering the age for coronavirus vaccination to 40 on Monday, March 29, and then to all residents 18 and older on Monday, April 5.
Starting today, Pinellas County residents 40 and older can book CDR Maguire Patient Portal appointments here for vaccinations. Vaccinations can begin on Monday.
The Patient Portal appointments will open for those 18 and older at a future date, but anyone can create an account now to be ready before vaccinations begin.
Public sites operated by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) and Pinellas County Government are adding appointments to the Patient Portal as additional shipments are received from the state. Identification and proof of eligibility is required at all sites.
Publix, CVS, Winn Dixie, Walmart, and Sam's Club pharmacies are also offering vaccines to the eligible groups. Residents can check each of the pharmacy chain websites for more information
PSTA currently offers free bus service to several drop-off locations near vaccine sites within Pinellas County. Check here to find a route convenient to you.
Below are other pertinent updates:
OUTLOOK NOT AS POSITIVE IN EUROPE, UK
While we’re seeing great progress with vaccines in the U.S., Europe is seeing COVID-19 cases rise and vaccines aren’t rolling out as fast. In Germany, the government extended current COVID-19 restrictions for another three weeks. In addition, it appears Germany will require all air travelers entering the country to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing the origin destination. In the UK, the government is telling Brits that international vacations will likely be on hold until at least July and the government is considering substantial fines for anyone trying to bypass the rules.
U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS MAY EASE IN MAY
Reports are that the Biden administration is looking at easing international travel restrictions with Mexico, Canada, UK, Europe and Brazil in mid-May. Of course, no definitive timeline has been set and the Canadian border closure was just extended again through April 21.
RECENT SURVEY SHOWS EVENT ATTENDEES, ORGANIZERS CONFIDENT
According to a recent survey conducted by Freeman, a global events leader, 78% of event attendees and organizers are confident they will return to in-person events this fall. That optimism grows to 95% for the winter. The survey was based off more than 1 million people in the industry.
REGISTER NOW FOR PINELLAS COUNTY BUSINESS HURRICANE SUMMIT
It's never too early to be prepared for hurricane season. Join us with Pinellas County Emergency Management and Pinellas County Economic Development for the 2021 Business Hurricane Summit. Local businesses are encouraged to participate as we'll focus on evacuation options, the season forecast and disaster preparedness. Register in advance at PCED.org/Summit and we'll see you from 10-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 8.
CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM OPENS WHALE EXHIBIT
Embracing its newly expanded facility, Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently launched a new exhibit Whales: Living with Giants, which will occupy 20,000 square feet and run through Aug. 31. Guests are immersed into the undersea world of whales through educational multi-media exhibits, an undersea virtual reality experience and more. For many years, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI) scientists and biologists have been working with NOAA and other partners to track, monitor and protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. In addition, for 22 weeks, Ava, a 45-foot-long life-size right whale will be popping up at popular locations throughout Tampa Bay to promote the exhibit and teach about the right whale. Follow Ava’s journey here.
WRESTLEMANIA SET FOR APRIL 10-11 AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
After WWE WrestleMania in Tampa was canceled a year ago, WrestleMania 37 is scheduled for April 10-11 at Raymond James Stadium and will include up to 25,000 fans for each night of the two-night event. Seats will be sold in pods, temperature checks will be in place upon entry and masks will be required.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 31
This week, the U.S. Senate passed the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Extension Act of 2021, which extends the deadline for PPP to May 31, with an additional 30 days for the Small Businesses Administration to process applications.