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JW Marriott Marco Island preparing for busy holiday weekend

A surge in coronavirus cases has a lot of people rethinking their Fourth of July plans. The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is booked for the holiday, but that means only half of the rooms can be full to keep everyone safe.

Visitors like Dasha Voit have noticed their family vacation on Marco Island looks different.

“There’s lots more cautiousness, so like on the beach, there’s not as many people,” she said.

Resorts like the Marriott, once bustling with guests, are doing everything they can to make guests feel comfortable and safe.

“I like it to be clean; I like it to be safe, close to the beach,” said Elena Voit.

Before you even get in the door, a handful of workers clean along the way. Director of Marketing Amanda Cox said the resort is bringing back staff.

“We’ve seen different types of demand for employment. Obviously we have more people cleaning; we’re devoting more time to cleaning every single accommodation.”

Some of their 600 employees were given new jobs after the resort, perhaps Marco Island’s largest employer, furloughed around 90 percent of its workers.

“About 60 percent of our business is normally large meetings and conventions. We know that that’s not happening now,” Cox said.

Conference areas were converted to extra outdoor space for lounging at the pool. Hand sanitizer stations now ride along in elevators, and painted directions on floors direct social distancing.

“I feel like we stay at less crowded places and I feel like the people are behaving appropriately,” said Elena Voit.

At 50 percent capacity, the resort said most guests have been responsible.

One challenge facing the resort looking ahead is being environmentally friendly. With more places using single-use items like to-go boxes, there are more discussions about how to be greener.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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