Weekly Roundup: May 18-22

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Gulfshore Business has been providing daily updates on business reopenings, adjustments, financial assistance and more in response to COVID-19. For daily information, subscribe to our free newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, and find archived newsletters at GulfshoreBusiness.com.


Friday, May 22


The state of Florida has approved Lee County’s minimum standards so that reservations can resume for vacation rentals, which had been prohibited under a prior executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis. Rentals must allow adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest for appropriate cleaning and sanitation. Measures required as minimum standards for vacation rentals throughout Lee County accepting reservations and guests for any length of stay and other county updates, information and documents can be viewed at leegov.com/covid-19.

Thursday, May 21


Lee County this week approved a spending plan for $57.5 million in CARES Act federal stimulus package funds. County leaders earmarked $25 million to help kickstart small businesses in the area through the Lee CARES Small Business Relaunch program. While the money has been approved, the web portal is not yet up and running. Officials say it should be functioning by next Tuesday and they will begin taking applications. The county plans $22 million to help individuals who have been unemployed because of the pandemic to continue to make monthly rent and mortgage payments. There is a maximum of $2,000 per household. This money is expected to assist around 10,000 Lee County households. Also, $3.5 million will go toward child care. The county is partnering with local organizations such as the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, and the United Way to provide scholarships and assistance programs to qualifying families. For more information on these programs, go to LeeFLcares.com and see this WINK News report.

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Chris Westley, dean of the Lutgert College of Business, announces RESTART SWFL, FGCU’s Economic Recovery Initiative. Courtesy of FGCU.

Wednesday, May 20


Florida Gulf Coast University is launching RESTART SWFL, an initiative dedicated to helping businesses respond to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, workforce, vendors and customers. “We know that good health makes good business, so it makes sense for FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business and Marieb College of Health & Human Services to unite to mobilize expertise and resources, along with those of our local partners, to help businesses,” said Christopher Westley, dean of FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business. “Our intention is to create an environment in which consumers will feel more comfortable to re-enter the marketplace.” Joined by his colleague, Ann Cary, dean of FGCU’s Marieb College of Health & Human Services, Westley unveiled the RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence on Tuesday at Lutgert Hall. “We believe the path to recovery is anchored in consumer confidence, so that’s why we’re introducing the RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence: a campaign to bring a renewed sense of confidence and prosperity to the region in which business owners pledge to adhere to a set of standards involving health, business and ethical practices,” Westley said. Along with the pledge, FGCU will launch a series of free web-based discussions led by experts from Lutgert and Marieb, as well as community leaders. These will assist businesses in complying with new standards in hygiene and best practices for business. The goal is to assure customers that establishments have sound systems in place to ensure their well-being and are providing fair value and service. “If business owners take two of these classes and take the pledge, they will earn this seal,” Westley said. For additional information about RESTART SWFL and panel discussion schedules, visit FGCU.edu/restart.

Credit: WINK News

Tuesday, May 19


Hertz Global Holdings Inc. announced Monday that Paul Stone has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Stone, most recently Hertz’s executive vice president and chief retail operations officer, North America, also has been elected to the Hertz board of directors. Stone succeeds Kathryn V. Marinello, who plans to continue with the Estero-based company in a consulting position for up to one year to support a smooth transition. “Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business that is driven by process excellence and employee engagement. Having successfully run our largest business segment for the last two years, Paul helped strengthen our brands by elevating service standards across the North American car rental operations,” says Hertz Chairman Henry R. Keizer. “We also want to thank Kathy for her contributions as an exceptional business leader. Since joining the company in January 2017, she oversaw a successful operational turnaround, transformed Hertz’s culture, and built a best-in-class leadership team. The board wishes her all the best.” Stone, 50, began his 28-year career with Sam’s Club/Walmart as a store manager and was quickly elevated through the ranks to Western US divisional senior vice president. He led operations for upwards of 200 locations with more than 30,000 employees. Prior to Hertz, he served as senior vice president and chief retail officer at Cabela’s, one of the leading outdoor outfitter retail companies.

Monday, May 18


Gyms and fitness centers can reopen today in Florida and restaurants and retail shops can now operate at 50% capacity. Gov. Ron DeSantis has moved the state into what he calls a “full Phase 1,” although movie theaters – which the White House included in its Phase 1 guidelines – are not allowed to reopen yet in Florida. Museums and libraries in the state also are permitted to operate at half capacity now. Until today, restaurants could serve indoor patrons at only 25% capacity. 

Don’t wait until the end of the week to find out what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected. 


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