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Recap: 7/31/20 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined today’s call. Plan on 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, for the next call. Watch for an invitation with the details.

Here is the call summary: 

Treon Glenn, Senior Director of Government Relations, U.S. Travel Association (USTA), gave a Congressional update on proposed new stimulus package legislation, including the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act in the House of Representatives from May and the $1 trillion Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act in the Senate this week

USTA: Much for travel industry to like in Senate coronavirus relief bill

As to the timeline for the next round of assistance, Glenn said, there is definitely pressure to get things done by Aug. 7, but it is not clear that there can be an agreement in such a short period of time. He said things will likely push to the second week of August, noting that a motivating factor is usually significant news in unemployment. Those numbers come out on the first Friday of each month.

Lee Mayfield, Director of Lee County Public Safety – Emergency Management, discussed hurricane plans during the pandemic. He said the risks from a hurricane outweigh the risks of the pandemic for people in an evacuation zone. If you live outside the evacuation zones, sheltering at home is encouraged. Know your evacuation zone.

People evacuating should first look to friends and family or hotels outside the zone. Hurricane shelters are an option of last resort.

The State of Florida is seeking to partner with hotels in safe areas further inland. The Hotels for Safer Florida app is about ready to go. People will be able to use the app to book hotels, and the state will pay for seven nights lodging for residents who use the app to book. Hotels are encouraged to participate and information is available at 833-904-2260.

Jennifer Gratz-Whyte, Fort Myers Brewing Company, said the brewery normally has 15 to 20 employees but in reality provides income to 75 people each week. This includes food trucks and live entertainment that rely on the brewery to be open. This model is not unique to Fort Myers Brewing. The second shutdown has been a bigger challenge, having greatly affected brewery taprooms. Fort Myers Brewing recently got a food license, allowing it to have onsite consumption. She offered to assist industry partners who need help navigating state licensing. She said the current situation has made it clear that craft breweries should be in their own state licensing category and not grouped with bars, nightclubs and restaurants. 

In an effort to offer a new craft brewery experience, Fort Myers Brewing recently partnered with Palm City Brewing and Momentum Brewhouse for a Crowler Crawl. This weekend event was a success and rewarded customers who purchased two crowlers (32 oz. can) at each of the three breweries with a T-shirt and other prizes to encourage repeat business.

A.J. Gurgal, SWFL Ale Trail, gave an overview of the passport program that started in 2016. At that time, he said not many people knew about the 10 breweries in the area. He and his business partner were looking for a way to incentivize the craft breweries and came up with the passport. The first edition sold more than 1,000 copies. This year, the fourth passport has sold just under 2,000 copies at breweries and online and has grown to include Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties. There are 19 breweries in the passport program and 11 of those can currently serve beer onsite.  

Gurgal said the passport is a great way to get visitors and locals to experience different parts of the area. He noted the passport gave one couple the idea to go from one end of the region to the other to visit breweries. Others create day trips and stop other places to shop and eat and get their passports stamped. It’s a great tool to attract people to the area, especially with so many travelers taking beer destination trips.

Tamara Pigott, Executive Director, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, gave the STR Report figures.

STR Report for the week of July 19-25
Occupancy: 44.7%, down 31.3%
ADR (Average Daily Rate): $131.60, up 0.6%
RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room): $58.83, down 30.9%

Pigott noted the recent cancellation of Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. Songs from the Sofa, the live concert series on Instagram continues Aug. 20. The next Island Hopper is set for Sept. 17-26, 2021.

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
Lee County VCB

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 2nd street, STE 600 Fort Myers, FL 33901
phone: (239) 338-3500 | toll free: (800) 237-6444


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