Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau Update #4

Dear Industry Partners:

We recognize the challenges facing our tourism industry today and in the days ahead. Additionally, we care about the health and well-being of our industry partners, visitors and residents. The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is working on a recovery plan. In the meantime, we are dedicated to supplementing the information you are receiving and seeing in the news.

Gov. Ron Desantis announced today that all bars and nightclubs in the state of Florida will be closed for the next 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. He also said restaurants must enforce capacity limits, staggering tables or keeping customers at least 6 feet away from each other. Gov. DeSantis is also urging people to order take-out and avoid dining out as much as possible.

This morning the Lee Board of County Commissioners approved a State of Local Emergency. This action will allow Lee County to be eligible for any funds that could be made available to state and local governments relative to COVID-19.

Other updates today include:

No staff will be at toll booths at the Cape Coral Bridge, the Sanibel Causeway or the Midpoint Bridge. If a vehicle with a transponder passes through, there is no change. Vehicles without transponders will be billed via license plate scan by mail later; motorists will not be charged any service fee.

Lee County-managed beaches, outdoor parks and Conservation 20/20 preserves remain open, and social distancing is encouraged. Indoor facilities, including recreation centers, community buildings and pools, will close at the end of today, as will dog parks. This will remain in effect for 30 days.

Lee County libraries will close to the public tonight for 30 days. Online services will remain available at www.leelibrary.net; the telephone reference call center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 239-533-INFO.

LeeTran services will continue unchanged.

Garbage pickup will continue on its regular schedule.

COVID-19 information For information about COVID-19, please visit the Florida Department of Health website that includes its 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 866-779-6122. It also offers updates on confirmed cases by county. See floridahealth.gov.

Marketing news In light of the increasingly strong messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relative to travel and people gathering, we are adjusting our summer media plan. We will delay the launch of some placements. This decision was difficult. We know how important our summer marketing is to our local businesses, but at this time consumer focus has shifted away from travel planning. It also mirrors what both VISIT FLORIDA and Brand USA are doing.

Business information In a recent briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center, Gov. DeSantis directed the Department of Revenue to provide flexibility on tax deadlines, including corporate income tax and sales tax, to assist businesses that are adversely affected by COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Gov. DeSantis will supplement federal Small Business Administration loans. Through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, up to $50 million has been allocated and is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period opens tomorrow, March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020. Please visit: www.floridadisasterloan.org.

Join weekly call with tourism partners There is a weekly conference call hosted by the Florida Department of Health to disseminate the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 to private sector and tourism partners in Florida. All private sector and tourism partners are invited to participate on the call. There will be an opportunity for questions as time permits. This call is intended solely for the tourism and private sector partners in Florida. Contact the Joint Information Center at JIC-Reports@em.myflorida.com for help with any technical issues with the call. You can join the call using the information below: 

Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Call-in number: 888-585-9008
Participant code: 872-128-152‚Äč
Reach out to ESF18@em.myflorida.com for support

Employment opportunities The 2020 Census needs census workers in Fort Myers. If anyone needs job support, the 2020 Census continues to hire for the May-July period. The positions pay $18 an hour plus 58 cents mileage (vehicle required) and require a commitment of working at least 20 hours per week. (Working up to 40 hours is fine.) The local 2020 Census office at 2320 Cleveland Ave. has hired over 3,500 people in the last 10 days. They expect that the goal of 4,808 recruits will be reached. However, they also believe that by the time work begins in May, they will lose some of those workers. They need a large pool of backup applicants who could quickly step in. To apply fill out the form: 2020census.gov/jobs.
2201 Second Street, Suite 600 Fort Myers, FL 33901
T: 239-338-3500
E: LeeVCB@leegov.com  

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Important Notice

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have postponed our large gatherings of events and programs through May 31.
Our Visitor Center and The Hub will also be closed during this time.

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