Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is committing an additional $3 million in grant funding to aid local communities impacted by the red tide that has addled the tourism industry in the region, according to the office of the governor.
According to a statement from the Scott’s office, the additional funding will be added to the $3 million grant program that was launched in July. In total, DEP is providing funding to support efforts in the following counties:
- $750,000 for Manatee County
- More than $190,000 for Collier County
- Nearly $100,000 for Sarasota County
- A total of $2 million for Lee County
- $700,000 for Martin County
Tourism and Business Aid
Scott directed VISIT FLORIDA to begin developing a marketing campaign to assist Southwest Florida communities that will start following the red tide blooms.
Scott issued the following statement:
- VISIT FLORIDA will create a $500,000 emergency grant program to assist local tourism development boards in counties affected by the naturally occurring red tide.
- The Department of Economic Opportunity is providing bridge loans interest-free for six months.
Affected Counties and Actions
The governor’s office issued the following information about the status of affected counties as well as actions undertaken Florida’s county health departments.
- Lee County has posted and is maintaining red tide signs at more than 180 beach access points along the Lee County coastline. The red tide signs provide details on respiratory issues, health precautions and resources for FWC, Mote Marine and current beach conditions.
- Environmental staff and County Health Department (CHD) leadership are in contact with city and county leadership, as well as local partners, in order to coordinate efforts and messaging. A press release detailing the effects of red tide and resources for mediation was sent out to local media partners. Additional resources, like website materials, social media posts, etc., have been shared with local partners for their use and distribution to their partners.
- Manatee County has hosted a discussion with community partners to understand current roles and share resources. The CHD has a distribution list set up to share information quickly with key personnel. They are also helping to coordinate discussions to help partners meet on a periodic basis. The CHD administrator has also been speaking with concerned citizens as they call in.
- Sarasota County environmental staff and CHD leadership have been in contact with city and county government and Visit Sarasota in order to coordinate messaging and provide template signage, website links and creative materials. The CHD has also worked with the county in order to post signs at every beach, provided rack cards to the county and Mote for distribution.
- Charlotte County has posted signage along the beaches to advise visitors and tourists about the water conditions. The CHD has performed outreach to their community partners, as well as local government, to share informational resources, creative materials and public health messaging. They also are coordinating efforts and assisting their sister agencies, as needed.
- Pinellas County has not had a direct impact at this time. The CHD is currently working with the county government to update a red tide webpage that provides public health and safety information. Environmental staff are in constant communication with central office subject matter experts to discuss outreach and other best practices, should they be needed.
- Hillsborough County has not had a direct impact with red tide at this time. The CHD staff is working with their community and county officials to finalize a joint information system, and continues to monitor the situation.
VISITFLORIDA red tide updates.
Florida Fish and Wildlife updates.
Visit Sarasota red tide updates.
Lee County (The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel) updates.
Lee county red tide updates.
Collier county red tide updates.