Visit Pensacola COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update #3 March 20, 2020
As the Destination Organization for Escambia County, we remain a resource to our partners, stakeholders, and community with current updates in these unprecedented times. On March 17, Escambia County activated its Emergency Operations Center at a level 2 and declared a local state of emergency. Visit Pensacola is participating in this initiative and will continue to send the most up to date information we receive within our community as well as within the tourism industry.
As of midnight, March 20, 2020, all Escambia County public beaches will be closed for thirteen days, which includes (sound side and Gulf side, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key). The Pensacola Beach toll booths will be closed, and all tolls will be electronic, via SunPass or toll by plate effective immediately.
Effective immediately, Governor DeSantis has directed all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. The establishments may, however, operate their kitchens to provide delivery or take-out services.
The order lifts the restriction that prohibits a specially licensed food service establishment from selling package sales of alcohol for delivery, take-out, or consumption off-premises for restaurants complying with Executive Order 20-68, through the expiration of the state of emergency declared in Executive Order 20-52. Alcohol sales to go with food that is a pick-up or delivered will be permitted, and I.D. will be required for orders, including alcohol.
Additionally, the Executive Order requires the closures of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida.
The Visit Pensacola visitor centers in an abundance of caution will operate as a “Virtual Office,” starting on Monday, March 23, 2020. Our staff will continue to provide the latest COVID-19 information and resources to help keep the traveling public informed; however, lobby doors will be locked to public access.
The Pensacola Beach visitor center continues to operate as a virtual office until further notice. The office staff will be available via phone and email. The Santa Rosa Island Authority office will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 23, in order to protect the public health and safety of their staff. Customers will be assisted via email or telephone.
The Greater Pensacola Chamber has created a Facebook page to assist local restaurants by utilizing take-out and delivery options they are providing amid the Corona Virus outbreak. OWNERS: please post if you will be providing delivery/carry-out, your menu items if possible, and any other details we should know as well as if there's anything else that the community can do to help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/203490210906567/about/
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and DigiPro Media have partnered together to announce the Save Florida Business Initiative as a way to support Florida businesses during this difficult time. The Save Florida Business Initiative will connect consumers in Escambia and Santa Rosa County to area businesses through the SaveFloridaBusiness.com website, where consumers can be connected to businesses participating in the program.
Small Business Bridge Loans
On March 16, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. Click herefor more information.
Damage Assessment Survey
Governor Ron DeSantis has activated the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by DEO, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. The survey can be taken online at www.floridadisaster.biz.
Governor DeSantis has reminded Floridians that if their employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, these Floridians may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. Click here for more information.
As a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC's recommendations for using a face mask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Per President Trump's press conference held on March 16, 2020, a new recommendation that over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of 10 or more people.
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 management 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.