The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport will receive over $10 million from two American Rescue Plan grants, to help it recover from impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We plan to pay for airport employees’ salaries and benefits, along with some Covid mitigation projects. We were able to retain our employees throughout the pandemic and implement Covid protections,” Public Relations Director Michele Routh said in a statement.
The grants awarded to the airport were announced late last week by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
The first grant, which is approximately $9.8 million, will cover costs related to airport operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitation, janitorial services, debt service payments and efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The second grant will provide $979,617 in rental assistance for small and large concessions at the airport.
“The American Rescue Plan is still delivering for Floridians as we continue in our fight against Covid-19, and I’m grateful this relief is headed straight home to Pinellas’s own St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport,” Crist said in a statement. “So many Florida businesses that support our robust tourism economy have been hit hard by the economic impacts of Covid-19, and in response, Congress provided tangible relief – all without a single Republican vote – because it was simply the right thing to do. The jobs and well-being of every Floridian will always be my top priority.”
The exact date of when the funds will be distributed was not disclosed.
During the pandemic, the St. Pete-Clearwater airport continued operations, and Mazzaro’s Italian Market was able to open its new location in the airport.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Director Tom Jewsbury said he did give tenants an option to defer rent payments for two months during the pandemic to help them navigate the financial uncertainties.
Now at the tail end of the pandemic, the airport regained international connections to Canada and domestic markets it had lost due to travel bans.
In November, Canadian airline Swoop launched a new international service at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport from Toronto Pearson International Airport and from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.
Additionally, Sun Country Airlines launched a new route from St. Pete-Clearwater to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Allegiant Air also recently announced more nonstop connections through the airport, including a connection to Wichita, Kansas.