The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights. Click the play arrow above to watch the full video.
On this episode, Robin Miller, CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber returns to speak with Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst about reopening the St. Pete Beach businesses. But first, Steinocher takes listeners through the Florida Chamber Scorecard for Pinellas County.
While Chambers of Commerce, 501(c)(6) organizations, were not eligible for most relief dollars, our local Chambers have been hard at work behind the scenes providing relief to other businesses and organizations. Miller explains that the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber teamed up with Chick-Fil-A to serve more than 700 chicken sandwiches to the public. It has also continued partnering with Feeding Tampa Bay, and moved its drive-thru food pantry from Tradewinds to St. Pete Beach City Hall.
As beach businesses prepare to reopen, they are starting to bring furloughed and laid off staff back to work, but many are finding that their previous employees are unwilling or unable to return to work for many good reasons, including their own or their loved ones’ vulnerability to Covid-19, lack of childcare and mores. Therefore, Miller has found that many businesses are hiring.
Miller said resorts and hotels are beginning to see much more business, from local markets, including Tampa-St. Pete and Sarasota-Bradenton. Miller does not expect out-of-state traffic to accelerate much in the coming months, and is instead focused on encouraging repeat local visitors. The biggest focus for beach businesses, she says, has been to provide customer experiences beyond the normal comforts and great beaches – focused on safe, clean environments.