By Jack Wert, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB Executive Director
Thank you all for what you are doing to support the start of the recovery plan for Collier County residents and businesses. We need to be prepared for some starts and stops in Phase 1 including temporary beach closings, new ways to add seating capacity to restaurants and special sanitizing methods by our attraction and tour operators.
But most important are the numerous programs that are now offered by the Federal Government such as the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA loans and the many other ways the CARES Act provides assistance to workers, businesses and the rest of our community that is so deeply hurt by this medical and financial crisis. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) along with a host of other resources for the $1.5 billion in grants provided under the CARES Act, allowing eligible entities to begin applying for funding. Eligible entities include state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and tribes, and most importantly, the EDA specifically includes “travel and tourism-related marketing campaigns” among the eligible uses for these grants.
I just completed a letter requesting Representative Rooney sign on as a co-sponsor to the next phase of financial help for our travel industry partners. We will continue to advocate for our travel industry partners at all levels of government to bring as much help to our community as possible. I am providing a link below to send your own letter of support to Congressman Rooney to keep the 40,000 hospitality and tourism industry citizens working in Collier County.
Congress has already begun to negotiate the next relief package, and with your help, the travel industry will help shape this legislation. It takes less than two minutes to let your member of Congress know that this bill is important to you, your colleagues and your community. Please contact your representative NOW and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 6697.
We will present our three-phase Recovery plan to the TDC and the BCC this month and ask for approval to use up to $1 million of our Emergency Advertising funds to supplement our recovery plan. Those emergency funds will be split between Phases 1 and 2 during this fiscal year and the Fall and Winter campaign in FY 21 beginning in October.
The City of Naples Council agreed to reopen their beaches with new hours and parking restrictions and stronger guidelines on social distancing.
The Collier County Commission just passed the following mandates on beach access for beaches in the unincorporated areas within Collier County until further notice:
· Monday through Friday weekday hours shall continue on the current regular hours of operation, with no further restrictions.
· Weekends, consisting of Saturdays and Sundays, shall be opened from 7:00 a.m. up until 11:00 a.m. (closing hour) and then re-open at 5:00 p.m. through sunset. During the weekends all County parking garages, lots and facilities shall be limited to access only by County residents whose vehicles have Collier County/City of Naples beach parking passes.
· Memorial Day weekend shall consist of Saturday, Sunday and Monday (May 23-25, 2020) and the restrictions for weekends listed (b) above, shall all be in effect for that Holiday Weekend.
Please stay safe and positive and we will all get through this very challenging time together.