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BREAKING NEWS: Governor orders bars closed

Recap: 6/26 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined today’s call. Our office will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of the July 4 holiday. Plan on 9 a.m. Friday, July 10, for the next call. Watch for an invitation with the details.

Here is the call summary: 

Lois Croft, Director for Southwest Florida,
Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), gave an update on how things are going locally with Phase 2 restaurant openings and discussed recent FRLA actions taken in light of the recent uptick in positive COVID-19 numbers in the state.

  • FRLA offers a sanitation and safety course for restaurant and hotel members. Visit for more information.
  • A webinar at 10 a.m., July 7, “Restaurants and COVID-19: Assuring safety while delivering value” will be hosted by FRLA and RESTART SWFL. Click here to register
  • FRLA will host an in-person chapter luncheon July 21 at Captain Nemo’s in Fort Myers. VCB Executive Director Tamara Pigott and Director of Marketing Brian Ososky will be the speakers.

Lauralee Shapiro, Global Account Executive, ConferenceDirect, gave an update on the meetings climate:

  • She said most of her meetings are canceling for 2020; she is watching two to three webinars a day on a variety of topics to stay up to date on what is happening in different destinations and with different suppliers.
  • Shapiro noted that digital and hybrid meetings are the future and is taking an online course in virtual event and meeting management through MPI/ELI. Hotels will need more bandwidth to accommodate greater technology usage as well as give planners flexibility to use outside AV/production companies.
  • Going forward, Shapiro expects groups will be smaller. The idea of being the only group in-house is appealing, so small to mid-size hotels will be positioned to do well. This way the group will have more control over the environment for their attendees.
  • She is hopeful that hotel salespeople who have been laid off or furloughed keep in touch via LinkedIn.
  • There is a difference between a hotel guest feeling safe and knowing they are safe. Shapiro talked about her visits to two hotels in the last month in which she noted very different experiences. At the hotel where she said she felt safe, staff all wore masks, floor decals were prominent, emphasizing social distancing, hand sanitizer was available and people without masks were asked by staff to wear one. She said at the hotel where she did not feel safe, masks were not enforced with guests or staff, there were very few hand sanitizer stations, limited signage and no floor markers for social distancing.

Kate Chunka, Industry Relations and Sales Director, VISIT FLORIDA, gave an update of the agency’s response to COVID-19:-VISIT FLORIDA is currently evaluating a Recovery Scorecard, which looks at a number of factors, like consumer sentiment, resident sentiment and expert health recommendations, to determine when to launch Rebound campaign.

  • In-state Campaign will focus on the “Uniquely Florida” to entice Floridians to explore their own backyards.
  • Domestic campaign will tout “The Power of a Florida Vacation.”
  • Both campaigns’ visuals will include expansive and mesmerizing imagery.
  • Rebound co-op opportunities, both in-state and domestic, are available for review at – type “Rebound” in filter.
  • VISIT FLORIDA co-investing for Rebound co-op at 1:1 match.
  • A number of free industry resources are available at, including research, a small business toolkit, webinar library, COVID-19 Data Dashboard and ListenFirst Consumer Sentiment reports.
  • The I-10 and I-75 Official Florida Welcome Centers have reopened and are accepting brochures.
  • Take the time to review your listing on and update any photos or description copy.

Tamara Pigott, VCB Executive Director, gave an update on LeeCARES program.
On Monday, July 6, Lee County will launch Phase 2 of its COVID-19 business assistance program for job creation. The Business Rehire program will:

  • Provide grant funding to small businesses for rehiring full-time equivalent (FTE) positions that were on the payroll as of March 1, 2020. Eligible positions must be rehired on or after July 6, 2020.
  • Provide grants of $5,000 per full-time equivalent positions rehired, up to $10,000 for businesses with 10 or fewer employees or up to $20,000 for larger qualified businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Note: 501(c)3 and 501(c)19 organizations are eligible.
  • Allows grants to be used for operating expenses not covered by other resources, including working capital, professional services or employee training.
  • Applications and additional eligibility requirements will be available online at

Businesses Relaunch Program
Today is the last day to apply for help through the LeeCARES Business Relaunch grant program. The application period will close at 8 p.m. Friday, June 26.
The one-time, $5,000 relaunch grants are to help offset the unintended costs of reopening or relaunching a small business. Business owners must be Lee County residents. 
Applications and additional eligibility requirements will be available online at or by appointment by calling 239-533-2273.

STR Report (Smith Travel Research) for the week of June-14-20:
Occupancy: 44.3%, down 33.8%
ADR (Average Daily Rate): $131.81, up 3.2%
RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room): $58.41, down 31.7%

Pigott said it is really interesting to see that the ADR is up 9.2% at the coastal properties, while the inland properties are down 8.9% – very good to see back-to-back weeks with an ADR increase.

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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