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Recap: 5/22 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined today’s call. Plan on 11 a.m. Friday, May 29, for the next call. Watch for an invitation with the call-in number. 

Here is the call summary: 

- John Talmage, Lee County Economic Development (EDO) Director, gave an update on the Lee County CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act federal stimulus package. The application process launches Tuesday, May 26, at It should be noted that the website will be under construction until the May 26 launch date. Lee County Government is investing $57.5 million in Human & Business Services to provide immediate assistance for individuals, families, businesses and food banks. The goal is to help people go back to work and help businesses relaunch. In July, we will see where we are and assess what our future needs will be.

Here are the four assistance programs:

Lee CARES Individual Assistance Program: $22 million in emergency support is intended to assist households with rent, mortgage or utilities (water and electric) if an individual has an unexpected loss of income due to impacts of COVID-19, including loss of job or reduced work hours. Maximum assistance of $2,000 per household. Available funding is expected to help 10,000 or more Lee County households. Payments will be made directly to landlord, mortgage company and/or utility company. Please be aware that employees may be seeking a completed Employment Verification Form from their employers.

Lee CARES Childcare Assistance Program: $4.5 million in emergency support for qualified households and childcare providers. Lee County will work with United Way and a network of Gold Seal providers who offer quality childcare programming. Scholarships will be provided for childcare services to qualifying families.

Lee CARES Small Business Relaunch Program: $25 million in emergency financial support to qualified businesses and includes $5,000 relaunch grants to qualifying small businesses and 501(c)(3) not-for-profits physically located within Lee County.

Lee CARES PPE for Small Businesses Program: $3 million in emergency support to qualified businesses. Each kit will contain a predetermined quantity of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other materials (while supplies last). 

Lee County unemployment numbers for April 13.6%, 47,000 workers displaced.

PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) $100 billion still active, average loans $56,000.  

- Carol Obermeier, Lee County Port Authority, said there were 18 nonstop flights per week in May. Airlift should increase to 23 per week in June. On Thursday, 3,360 passengers went through TSA. Overall, things are trending upward. Spirit and Southwest airlines are adding flights. Sun Country reports positive numbers with its Minneapolis flight. Cautiously optimistic, in the process of developing a recovery plan with senior staff. Canadian border enforcement extended to June 21.

- Lois Croft, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), said Fort Myers Beach is seeing more activity, numbers are coming up, biggest factors for restaurants is ability to have outdoor and parking lot to use. Hotels starting to open for holiday weekend. Carol Dover, FRLA state president/CEO, was part of Thursday’s Hospitality Roundtable with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vice President Mike Pence.

- Tamara Pigott, VCB Executive Director, gave the STR Report for the week of May 10-16:
Occupancy 29.7%, down 53.7%
Avg. Daily Rate, $78.96, down 39.6%
RevPAR $23.46, down 72%

Here are the April 2020 numbers:
Occupancy: 18.1%
ADR: $77.35
RevPAR: $14.04

Occupancy was at or above 30% for each day last week except for Sunday, May 10. 

Island Hopper Songs from the Sofa: Last night’s Instagram live event featuring singer/songwriter Sam James was a great preview to the Sept. 18-27 event and had about 80 people watching live. Visit @islandhopperfest on Instagram to watch the recorded performance.

Vacation rentals: Today’s News-Press included front-page coverage of the change in Lee County’s vacation rental policy. The state approved an amended version of Lee County’s minimum standards regarding out-of-state reservations. Vacation rentals reservations and stays will be allowed from all U.S. states with COVID-19 case rates less than 700 cases/100K residents. COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population by state can be found at

Review the full short-term vacation rental reopening plan for Lee County by visiting:

Lee County: COVID-19 updatesbeach openingseconomic recovery resource portal and United Way 211 hotline

Lee County VCB: Virtual vacationat-home activitieseducation & resources, Zoom backgrounds

Lee County Human and Veteran Services: Verification of employment / Loss of income form

Lee Care hotline: 239-533-2273

Federal resource: Opening Up America Again

Stay in touch and let us know if we can help. Visit for updates. Thank you for all you do. Have a safe weekend.

Tamara Pigott
Executive Director


The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

2201 Second Street, Suite 600 | Fort Myers, Fl 33901
Toll Free 800.237.6444 | Local 239.338.3500

Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers
Bonita Springs
Cape Coral
Pine Island
Boca Grande & Outer Islands
North Fort Myers
Lehigh Acres

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau
2201 Second Street, Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901, USA
phone: (239) 338-3500 | toll free: (800) 237-6444

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