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State: Bars can reopen at 50% capacity beginning Sept. 14

On Sept. 10, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Halsey Beshears issued Emergency Order 2020-10, which rescinds the DBPR Amended Emergency Order 2020-09 effective on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.   

Under DBPR Emergency Order 2020-10, bars and other alcoholic beverage vendors may resume sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises on Monday, provided that their operations comply with the parameters of Phase 2 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery as established in Executive Order 20-139

Beginning Monday, these vendors may operate at 50% of the facility’s indoor capacity, allow bar service to seated patrons, and permit outdoor seating and service with appropriate social distancing.

DBRA Emergency Order 2020-10


Recap: 9/11/20 COVID-19 Industry Partner Call

Dear Industry Partners:

Thanks to those who joined today’s call. Please plan on joining us at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, for the next call. Watch for an invitation with the details.

Here is the call summary: 

Carol Obermeier, Director of Air Service Development, Lee County Port Authority, said JetBlue announced Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) will have nonstop daily service beginning Nov. 19 to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

In addition, WestJet is looking to return to RSW on Oct. 25 with Toronto service three times a week. They are looking at factors to determine how to keep moving forward on building transborder service. It depends on the U.S./Canada border opening, two-week quarantine (for returning Canadians), and healthcare liability costs if COVID-19 medical attention is required outside Canada.  However, with the high percentage of second-home ownership in the RSW area, that brings Southwest Florida higher on their list of U.S. cities where Canadians desire to return.

Joseph St. Germain, President, Downs & St. Germain Research, talked about the WAVE 5 Consumer Sentiment Report.

His key points:

  1. There are generally three groups of people related to travel sentiment. Group 1 is already back to travel and generally don’t plan to look back. Group 2 has little to no interest in travel right now and probably will not be interested until a vaccine is developed. Group 3’s travel sentiment tends to ebb and flow with the number of COVID cases.
  1. Actual travel and travel-related behaviors (going to restaurants, going to the beach, etc.) have been steadily increasing each month since April. Leisure travel has outpaced business travel, but business travel is slowly increasing as well.
  1. Safety-related and peace-related messages rank at the top of the list for influencing travel.
  1. There is some “not in my backyard” effect related travel sentiment. Consumers are more likely to be in favor of their own personal travel than they are of having travelers visit their community.

Treon Glen, Senior Director Government Relations, U.S. Travel Association, gave a congressional update, noting the most recent coronavirus relief package failed to pass the Senate but largely had unified GOP support. He said that while 1.4 million jobs are being added to the market, the travel industry is the hardest hit and the micro numbers in industry are bad. U.S. Travel continues to seek relief and recovery, and remains vigilant, even though negotiations are stalled.

U.S. Travel continues to work with Congress on creating a picture to show them that the travel industry is losing $2 billion per day. He said this is considered a persuasive statistic to get Congress to provide relief before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Tamara Pigott, Executive Director, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, shared the weekly STR figures:

Lee County STR data for week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5

  • Occupancy – 47.4%, down 1.8%
  • ADR (Average Daily Rate) – $110.91, up 9.9%
  • RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) – $52.55, up 7.9%

Bed Tax Collection

The preliminary resort tax collected for July 2020 was $2,678,816, a 4.6% decrease over July 2019 preliminary collections of $2,807,640. Fiscal year-to-date preliminary tourist tax collections are $34,346,227, a decrease of 12.3% year-over-year.

There is no Tourist Development Council (TDC) meeting in September but the report to the industry is available by clicking here. The next TDC meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 8.

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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