Seaside Commercial District Closing For Health Safety [Updates]
March 18, 2020 by Kerri Parker, Executive Director of Communications (SCDC)
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.
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.