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Seaside Commercial District Begins Phased Opening May 29

May 27, 2020 by Kerri Parker, Executive Director of Communications (SCDC)

Update May 21, 2020

Seaside’s Commercial beach experience will be different this summer. In past years we have encountered overwhelming crowds at our commercial beach creating a less-than-pleasant experience for most visitors.

As our beach access reopens on May 29th, we have asked Cabana Man, who has 34 years of beach service to our locals and visitors, to manage our beach. They will provide two service levels. Cabana Man Service will provide chair sets and umbrellas, and Club Cabana will provide not only chairs sets and umbrellas but offer food and beverage service from Seaside restaurants. Beach access will be provided to the public with these services offered exclusively. Personal chairs, umbrellas, tents and coolers will not be permitted to be taken on the beach.

An attendant will greet you at Coleman Pavilion (the obelisk), advance reservations will be required, and an occupancy limit will apply. All chair sets will be placed at least 6 ft. apart with an emphasis on social distancing. Cabana Man’s professional team of beach attendants have cleaning and disinfecting protocols in place to manage cleanliness of all equipment.

Contact Cabana Man’s website cabanaman.com to reserve your beach experience this summer.

Update May 8, 2020

The Seaside Commercial District will begin our phased reopening on May 29 while continuing to make health and safety our priority. The ‘Seaside Experience’ will look and feel different this summer. In the first phase of our gradual reopening we will close Central Square to automobiles. This will help set the stage for ‘Seaside Al Fresco.’ With reduced traffic and crowds – strolling, shopping and dining will be even more attractive. Tents will line Central Square establishing an open-air market and the ability to queue guests into retail stores with limited capacities.

Enhanced safety measures will be in place, including the request for patrons and staff to wear face coverings when entering retail stores or when in close proximity to others. Handwashing and sanitizing stations will be placed throughout town, along with many signals to stay distanced from one another. Additional training among our staff will include increased cleaning procedures and instructions, limiting contact with guests.

Only a few of our restaurants offer indoor seating. This is an advantage, as the ‘Seaside Experience’ has always included outdoor dining. To prevent long wait lines, we will ask our guests to use online ordering methods from our ‘grab and go’ food & beverage merchants. Technology will free folks from lines, and hopefully establish a new pedestrian flow throughout town.

Additional protocols and procedures will be announced closer to the opening date. Please check Seasidefl.com as we get closer to May 29 for the most current information. We will remain vigilant, keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases in Walton County and all of our feeder markets, safeguarding our reopening. Our merchants look forward to welcoming you back to Seaside.

*If you have questions about vacation rentals, please contact your rental vacation property management company directly.

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Update 3/18/20

We are among unprecedented times regarding the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We recognize many of you have closed or plan to close as the Commercial District of Seaside is also closing. In our letter to owners and merchants we expressed our decision was based on making health and safety a priority. You may not know that many of our neighboring communities have made announcements, following suit; including St. Joe Club & Resorts, Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach with more neighbors pending. Seaside led the stance based on several consultations with infectious disease professionals.

Many of our merchants were seeking leadership due to fear of infection. Nearly 100% of those merchants have expressed gratitude, as the decision alleviated moral dilemma. Several merchants have already closed their doors including Ophelia, Sundog Books, Central Square Records and all five Seaside Associated Stores. Some of our food and beverage offerings have already changed their services to take out only. Soon you will see the common area seating in front of Airstream Row removed and common area seating around town made unavailable. Public restrooms will close on March 21, 2020. We are attempting to discourage gathering.

To-go food and beverage options will remain open unless otherwise closed by State or Federal Government. This is a standard across the country in areas infected. As you are aware, this is a fluid situation; we are tirelessly monitoring and communicating.

Unfortunately, we are not all aligned about health and safety of our guests. It has come to our attention that there is an effort to encourage tourism, support gathering and shopping; business as usual mentality. This is an explicit contrast to the message opposing our decision to close Seaside Commercial District. If you are unaware of how infectious this virus is, opposition is understandable. If you are aware of the facts, your decision to actively market that some shops are open – some beach accesses are open – you’re risking your lives and the lives of others. It is true we all will suffer financially from this unfortunate situation. We are taking steps to be of aid to those who comply and make health and safety a priority.

We hope that if you were on the fence about opening or closing for business, we emphatically encourage you to make the decision to close.

There has never been a more critical time to have one message: health and safety are the priority to Seaside.

Please review the linked slideshow to help learn why we made this decision.

Update 3/16/20
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Seaside Community Development Corp. (SCDC) has announced the closure of Seaside Commercial District, including dozens of retail stores and services, with the intention to save lives. In a letter written to key stakeholders below, the leadership team of Seaside made their purpose known: health and safety are a priority.

“Thank you for your perseverance through these unprecedented times. Over the past few days additional information about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has resulted in professional consultations with multiple infectious disease experts among your SCDC leadership team. You surely recognize that the guests and visitors of our holiday town have grown to believe Seaside is a refuge; everything we hoped it would be, but not logical under the current conditions.

Our town founders and leadership team believe the only decision that makes health and safety a top priority is to close Seaside until April 30, 2020. Our hope is this decision will help save lives and help give medical professionals the space they need for those infected. Beginning at 5 p.m. today our town will close beach accesses in our commercial district. Effective immediately, all Spring event programming is suspended.

The formal closure of Seaside commercial area will happen Saturday, March 21st at noon. Some merchants may choose to close immediately upon this notice; However, we will not mandate closure until Saturday at noon. At that time, our food & beverage merchants may remain open for to-go service only, unless otherwise directed by the state or federal government.

Unquestionably, Seaside has taken a leadership role in South Walton. These past few days we have made every effort to stay focused on making our decision based on one purpose: health and safety. We are all in this together. We will find solutions to problems we will incur and work tirelessly to stay in communication. We certainly do not have all the answers. This is only the first communication you will receive; we will continue to communicate throughout this week.”

Stay tuned for More information to follow. Follow Seaside on Facebook >

*If you have questions about vacation rentals, please contact your rental vacation property management team.

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