Visit Pensacola COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update #13
Dear Tourism Stakeholder:
As May comes to a close, and we continue to reopen our community, Visit Pensacola will strive to remain a resource to our partners, and stakeholders with the most current updates.
Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Begins Today. The 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday, May 29, 2020, and extends through Thursday, June 4, 2020. During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax. However, the sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items. Additionally, the sales tax holiday does not apply to sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. For more information and to see the list of tax-exempt items, go here.
As our community begins the reopening and recovery efforts from the impacts of COVID-19, a myriad of local organizations are focused on providing data and guidance as we look at resetting our economy. REOPENING ESCAROSA has been created, and the committee will continue to update and resend out phases and programs as they become available. In this document, you will find the initial work product from this working group. Click here to access the Reopening Escarosa document
At Wednesday’s board meeting, we hope you enjoyed hearing from our newest research company, Downs & St. Germain. Due to the pandemic, the team has had to transition by moving all data collections online from face to face interviews during April and May. To document the economic impact of the crisis, Visit Pensacola needs our partners and stakeholder's help. In return for participating, your property will receive a free, detailed report of your guest visitation.
You can participate by either:
- Sending out an email with the survey link to your April and May visitors. Downs & St. Germain Research will supply a turnkey email invitation.
- Send Downs & St. Germain Research a database of your April and May visitors. Downs & St. Germain Research will then email the survey invitation to your visitors. We realize that some properties cannot participate in this way but wanted to mention it as an option.
If you would like to discuss this research or have questions, Joseph St. Germain, President of Downs & St. Germain Research, is available to discuss by email (email@example.com) or cell phone (850.321.1782).
The team is continuing to update and share our “While You Are Here” landing page as we transition from virtual back to our new normal. Similar to the Healthy Travel page, this page is detailed with business operating hours, menus, beach safety precautions, and more. We want to ensure our residents and our guests have the information needed while experiencing all that Pensacola has to offer safely.
Visitor Information Centers – The Visitor Information Centers (Pensacola and Perdido Key) will remain closed until further notice. The entire team is available to assist and support our partners, stakeholders, and guests, virtually.
Experience Pensacola App – We are excited to announce the launch of the Experience Pensacola app. The app is designed to assist both locals and visitors in navigating Escambia County. With a built-in location finder, app users can find experiences closest to them. Some of the core features include:
- Travel deals for an affordable vacation (locals can indulge, too!)
- Local restaurant listings
- Trails and Interactive Tours
- Custom itinerary builder
- Happy Hours
- Current events
- Local transportation options
- Museums and attractions
The Experience Pensacola app is available for download on the Apple Store or Google Play. To learn more about the Experience Pensacola app, or to download it, visit www.visitpensacola.com/app/.
Executive Orders and more
On May 21, the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners voted to amend Executive Order 20-6, creating Executive Order 20-8 regarding Escambia County public beaches.
Escambia County Pensacola public beaches are now fully open to the public. Camping on the beach is not allowed per county ordinance 74-36 and consistent with the “Leave No Trace” protections for nesting sea turtles.
Other Escambia County parks, including public access points on Perdido Key, remain closed from sunset to sunrise.
Beach goers are still asked to limit groups to 10 people or fewer and to adhere to CDC social distancing measures by keeping a 6-foot distance between others who are not in their immediate household.
Escambia County is pleased to announce Secretary Beshears with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has approved the short-term vacation rental plan that was submitted Friday, May 15. We are very thankful for his approval. Escambia County Short-term Vacation Rental Plan for Secretary Beshears
Beginning on Saturday, May 16, Gulf Islands National Seashore will initiate Phase Two access at:
- The Fort Pickens Area
- Regular operating hours
- Restrooms will be limited to Langdon Beach and the restrooms outside of the Discovery Center
- Lifeguards will be on duty at Langdon Beach
- Free tram service at the Fort Pickens Area (Begins Saturday, May 23)
- Pensacola Bay Cruises will drop-off and pick-up passengers at the Fort Pickens Area (Begins Saturday, May 23)
- The Perdido Key Area
- Regular operating hours resume
- Lifeguards will be on duty at Johnson Beach
- Pensacola Bay Cruises
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- The Fort Barrancas Area
- The Fort Pickens Campground, Discovery Center, and bookstore
- The headquarters indoor exhibits at the Naval Live Oaks Area
- Parking lots 33A & 36A along Highway 399 (closed for the season)
- Parking lots 34A & 34E at the Opal Beach Complex
Executive Order 20-112 also extends Executive Order 20-69 regarding local government meetings utilizing technology while meeting the requirements of the Sunshine Law.
Executive Order 20-112, regarding the Governor’s plan for Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery took effect May 4, 2020, and was updated effective May 11, 14, and 15, 2020.
Local governments may adopt requirements directly on businesses, operations, or venues, including buildings, beaches, and parks, that may be stricter than the state. Report a business that violates these orders to local law enforcement. Note: Governor DeSantis has added Miami-Dade and Broward counties to Phase 1 effective May 18 and had added Palm Beach county to Phase 1 effective May 11, 2020.
Phase I includes the following: Click here to view the plan
- Schools: Schools remain distance learning.
- Senior Living Facilities: Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.
- Elective Surgeries: Elective surgeries can resume.
- Restaurants: Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six-foot space between tables and indoor seating at 50% capacity.
- Retail: Retail can operate at 50% of indoor capacity.
- Museums and libraries: Museums and libraries may open at 50% building capacity as long as their local government allows. Interactive shared exhibits, like child play areas, remain closed.
- Bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters will remain closed.
- Gyms may open with sanitization procedures in place beginning May 15, 2020.
- Personal care services like barbershops and hair salons may reopen with specific standards required with limitations beginning May 11, 2020.
- Vulnerable individuals: Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home.
- All individuals:
- All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others.
- Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing.
- Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you can't social distance.
- Travelers: Everyone entering Florida from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York) must isolate or quarantine for 14 days from the time of entry or the duration of the presence in Florida, whichever is shorter. People employed by the airlines and those performing military, emergency, health, infrastructure, or commercial-related activity are exempt.
Help Out, Take Out: designed to assist all restaurants, bars and breweries now offering curbside and to-go options. Visit www.visitpensacola.com/pensacola-to-go/ to ensure your business is listed.
Virtual Pensacola: created for all to share virtual live events, experiences, and activities. From cooking demonstrations, fitness classes, live music sessions, and more, we invite you to keep adding so we can continue to share our destination experiences.
Video Conference Backgrounds: snap a selfie and tag us in your next meeting.
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County Coronavirus Call Center is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1 (866) 779-6121 or you can email your questions to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
Visit floridahealth.gov for the most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments.
About Visit Pensacola
Visit Pensacola is the destination organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication.