Recap: 7/17/20 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call
Dear Industry Partners:
Thanks to those who joined today’s call. Plan on 9 a.m. Friday, July 24, for the next call. Watch for an invitation with the details.
Here is the call summary:
Commission Chairman Brian Hamman shared that his family’s quarantine has ended. He talked about local hospitalization figures, noting this week 300 were people hospitalized for COVID-19, hospitals are 96% full and 24% of those beds have COVID-19 patients.
Lois Croft, Southwest Florida Regional Director, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), gave an overview of FRLA’s Seal of Commitment program. This is a designation for hospitality safety and sanitation standards. Croft said the state is looking to make cocktails-to-go permanent for bars and restaurants. Upcoming webinars include “The Necessary Restaurant Technologies and Innovations to Survive 2020” on July 22, and “Latest Impacts from COVID-19 on Florida Vacation Rentals & Tourism Organizations” on July 30. FRLA plans to hold a Taco Cook-off on Nov. 10 for high school culinary students and combine this event with the FRLA’s holiday party at Shangri-La Springs.
Suzanne Neve, CEO, Florida Festivals & Events Association, said the events season peaks between January and April and is again busy in the fall. Lost March and April events. Some were postponed for fall, and some of those may be canceled. Next focus will be late September but not confident this will happen. Starting to see a shift to October and re-planning for 2021. A lot of members are starting to explore hybrid options for events, ways they can look at risk assessment based on where numbers are at that point. Festivals have increased cleaning and sanitation efforts, are examining capacity limits and expanded hours. FFEA’s Resilient Together Conference will be scaled down and held Aug. 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, and a full-scale virtual conference will be Aug. 25-27. Coming back in August 2023 for full-scale conference.
Matt Johnson, Director of IMAG History & Science Center and Chair of Florida Attractions Association (FAA), said the association has experienced diverse challenges and implemented slow phased-in reopening that is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state guidelines. These were very broad suggestions so the FAA created a best practices guide for members that follow legal and recommended guidelines. Johnson said numbers at IMAG have been flat and the recent increase in COVID-19 cases has caused summer camp cancelations.
Bill Lupfer, President/CEO, Florida Attractions Association, said 85% of the attractions are open in Florida and attendance is at 40%. Some parts of the state are doing well with Florida staycationers, as expected, but not seeing crossover travel. One exception is St. Augustine and the destination is getting weekenders. Miami-Dade’s Phase 1 virtual lockdown has closed all attractions and those residents are going to other parts of the state. In Miami-Dade, some indoor attractions, like museums, are open and outdoor attractions are closed, county parks are open. Legislatively, they plan to advocate for a return to a $75 million budget for VISIT FLORIDA. Its current budget is $50 million. Lupfer recently visited EPCOT and reported impressive efforts with barriers, masks, sanitation.
Carol Obermeier, Director of Air Service Development, Lee County Port Authority, announced Alaska Airlines will offer West Coast service between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
Alaska Airlines will begin flying nonstop to LAX Nov. 20. The flights will be on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Flights to SEA will begin Nov. 21 and will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. She said the flight schedules were well-thought-out and will connect travelers to Hawaii and Asian-Pacific destinations. The planes are Boeing 737-800 and flights are available for booking.
Tamara Pigott, Executive Director, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, gave a STR report update.
STR Report (formerly Smith Travel Research) for the week of July 5-11:
ADR (Average Daily Rate): $135.73
RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room): $62.51
Up to $2,000 in individual assistance is available to residents through the CARES funds. https://leeflcares.com/
Stay in touch and let us know if we can help. Check LeeVCB.com for updates. Thank you for all you do. Have a safe weekend.
Lee County VCB