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Seaside Commercial District implements curfew

Seaside visitors will have to wear masks when shopping in retail stores. (WJHG/WECP)
Seaside visitors will have to wear masks when shopping in retail stores. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 3:33 PM CDT
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SEASIDE, Fla. (Press Release) - June 25, 2020 — Droves of visitors are already in Seaside or headed to the famed holiday town either for a vacation stay or for a day trip. Amidst the threat of COVID-19, the Seaside Community Development Corp. (SCDC) has implemented several safety measures in effort to help stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, the spread of the virus continues, creating more restrictions for guests and merchants alike.

Beginning June 26, 2020, the Seaside Commercial District will enforce a new curfew, closing the Commercial District at 8 p.m. Three full-service restaurants will remain open past 8 p.m. by reservation only: Bud & Alley’s, Pizza Bar and Great Southern. These restaurants will operate at a limited capacity and will require their employees to wear masks in addition to following stringent cleaning and safety protocols.

“We greatly appreciate the leadership of Seaside, as they have consistently made very difficult decisions to make health and safety a priority,” said Bryan Pritchett, co-owner of two retail stores in Seaside, Duckies and Mercantile.

The Commercial District at Seaside officially reopened on May 29, 2020. Since that time, Central Square has been blocked from vehicular traffic, yet the town still experiences large crowds of guests arriving on foot or by bicycle. With limited parking, the expectation was there would be less traffic and a lower sales volume among merchants. Airstream Row, a popular collection of ‘food trucks’ known for its atmosphere directly off Scenic 30A is particularly congested in the evenings with mass crowding of young people, all ignoring social distancing measures. “Our retail stores are closed by 7 p.m. Our beaches are limited to reservations only. We continue to have indignant crowds causing undue stress for our merchants and our staff. The threat of COVID-19 is not gone. We must add this curfew to mitigate crowds and help slow the spread of the virus,” said Pam Avera, General Manager of SCDC.

Seaside is one of the few commercial properties in Northwest Florida requiring masks to be worn when entering a retail store. While most of the guests kindly bring and wear their masks, many merchants have reported outrage by some consumers. The town has taken a stance that if you do not want to wear a mask, simply do not come to Seaside stores. This face-covering position has become a hot topic

nationwide. The founders of Seaside, their leadership team and the Seaside Merchants will not compromise regarding the requirement of masks in stores. A few positive cases of the virus have already been reported by employees who work in Seaside. As many are recognizing, the threat of COVID-19 has caused lives and businesses to change. The Seaside Commercial District will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread with the core purpose of making health and safety first. More extreme measures may be announced.

For more information, please contact Kerri Parker at kparker@seasidefl.com or 850-231-6106.

About SEASIDE®

Seaside, built on 80 acres on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is located on South Walton County’s Hwy. 30-A, on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. Acclaimed worldwide as an astonishing example of New Urbanism, Seaside offers a thriving town center with shopping and dining, all within walkable distance to homes, cottages and offices. Consisting of more than 475 cottages, many of them vacation rentals, the community offers nearly 20 restaurants, bars or eateries, and more than 40 shops, galleries and services.

Seaside was named as one of the Travel Channel’s “2018 Best Family Beaches,” was recently named the “Best Beach on Earth” for families by Travel + Leisure magazine and included in Coastal Living’s “15 Best Places to Visit in Florida.” The holiday town was also the primary filming location of the classic movie “The Truman Show.”

Seaside is a prominent topic in architectural schools and in housing-industry magazines, is visited by design professionals from throughout the United States, and is included in the American Institute of Architects (Florida chapter) list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years 100 Places.

For more information, visit www.seasidefl.com or email kparker@seasidefl.com.

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