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Recap: 8/7/20 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined us for today’s call. We will not have a call next week because of a scheduled TDC meeting on Aug. 13. Our next call will be Friday, Aug. 21. Watch for an invitation.

Here is the call summary: 

Bob Megazzini, General Manager, Luminary Hotel & Co. and Caloosa Sound Convention Center, gave a progress update:

The Luminary is on schedule to open Sept. 17, pending certificate of occupancy. Opening with the hotel will be the convention center, Dean St. Coffee Roastery, Ella Mae’s Diner and the Lobby Bar. The Beacon Rooftop Bar will open Oct. 22. The Silver King Ocean Brasserie opens Nov. 4. The Oxbow Bar & Grill opens March 15, 2021. The Amphitheatre is in its final stage of design and should be completed sometime between April and June 2021.

They recently hosted a job fair in downtown Fort Myers and hired 50 applicants. They have additional positions available. Visit to access job listings.

Daniel Leifeld, Key Data Dashboard, gave an overview of Lee County vacation rental trends.

He works with 1,700 vacation rental units and for 2020 year-to-date the average paid occupancy is 5% lower than last year. He considers that a very favorable outcome considering the challenges surrounding COVID-19.

Lee County began bouncing back in mid-May and is on course to exceed last year’s occupancy for June, July, August and September. The average booking window is smaller. The average booking window for July was down – 71 days out compared to last year at 95 days. In August, it was two weeks shorter:  62 days this year for August compared to 85 days last year. People are consistently making travel decisions at the last minute.

The rate is on track for August and September. This year the average rate is $196 compared to $190 for last year. Properties are pushing the rate up to make up for losses in April and May.

The top three states for feeder markets in 2020 include Florida, Ohio and Illinois. Florida residents are the majority of our visitors since May. Homestead and Miami are the two biggest drive markets by far.

Lois Croft, Southwest Florida Regional Director, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), gave an update on FRLA’s Seal of Commitment program as well as the recent Governor’s order: Executive Order 20-192

The minimum wage increase to $15 will be on the November ballot. Lois shared potential negative implications this increase will have on the industry. The website offers additional information.

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

STR Report for the week of July 26-Aug. 1
Occupancy: 48.0%, down 23.0%
ADR (Average Daily Rate): $123.47, down 2.2%
RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room): $59.27, down 24.7%

LeeCARES Individual Assistance Program

Today is last day to apply for the first round of this program. The maximum assistance will increase from $2,000 to $3,000 on Aug. 17. Income requirements also increased for applicants. Grant recipients from earlier rounds of assistance are also eligible for Round 2 funding.  Round 2 begins Aug. 17. Learn more about the Individual Assistance Program here.

Business Rehire

The business rehire program has an increased grant of up to $8,000. If your business is hiring workers, this grant is available to you. Learn more about Round 2 of Business Rehire Program here.


Doubled the maximum scholarship amount allowed for each child who qualifies for childcare expenses to $2,500 in order to extend the program through the remainder of calendar year 2020. United Way – 211 – is handling those applicants.

Today is last day to apply for Round 1 of the LeeCARES Individual Assistance Program.

Learn more about Round 2 of LeeCARES Individual Assistance Program -

Learn more about Round 2 of Business Rehire Program -

Please remind your staff that anyone who has suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19 is eligible to apply.

The Tourist Development Council (TDC) will meet Thursday, Aug. 13, in Room 118, Admin East Building, 2201 Second St., Fort Myers. The agenda will be posted at and on Facebook: @LeeVCB. There will also be a live stream of the TDC meeting on Lee TV, which you can watch here.

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

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