SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - This year’s pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the global economy and we sure have felt it here on the Suncoast, but now Florida leaders say they are optimistic because several big events are coming to the Sunshine State and it goes beyond politics.
“Any time that we can infuse external dollars into our communities, whether it’s Florida or in Sarasota-Manatee, these are people who aren’t living and working here. These are new fresh dollars into our economy and our community, so these are really great things. All of these things play into getting more people back to work and getting our economy’s engine really fired up," Heather Kasten, President of the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce, explained.
First up - The NBA Season will return on July 31st at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Plus, The Women’s National Basketball Association is eyeing the IMG Academy in Bradenton to host their shortened 22-game season starting on July 24th.
“You figure that’s twelve teams times twelve players plus all the affiliated coaches and staff that would be needing lodging here in our community, the economic impact even without the ability to host fans would be significant," said Jacki Dezelski, President & CEO of The Manatee County Chamber of Commerce.
Then, announced just last night, the Republican National Convention will hold its final events in Jacksonville this August.
“It’s a big deal for everybody, regardless of your political affiliation. If you’ve seen restaurants and retail establishments and hotels struggle, this will certainly give it a shot in the arm. I’m very excited for our governor," expressed Senator Joe Gruters.
Plus, of course, the news we’ve known for a while, but which will bring even more people and business to our area – the 2021 Super Bowl will be touching down in Tampa.
“We definitely have rooms blocked off in Sarasota County already. That’s another great thing about having this in our backyard. So many organizations use the Super Bowl as an opportunity for an incentive trip or a sponsor trip. It’s a great way for us to show off our destination in Sarasota County to some of those corporations to plan some future meetings for them," explained Shelby Connett, the Sports Director for Visit Sarasota County.
However, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, and cases continue to rise here in Florida. So how will these events take place while also keeping people safe?
“I think just due to the various industries and the diversity of all of our different businesses, each business has a different set of circumstances that businesses can follow. Whether it’s a cleaning schedule, or social distancing and how far apart they can place people or how long a hotel room needs to rest in between guests," said Kasten.
Officials say each event will have different guidelines as each week changes are made in the re-opening plans, but that sanitation and as much social distancing as possible will be enforced. Plus, the CDC now has different regulations per industry.