Posted on June 24, 2020
This past week has certainly seen Florida in the headlines, for all the wrong reasons. With the reported increases in COVID-19 positive cases among Floridians, this may be causing Florida timeshare owners to think twice before heading to the Sunshine State.
About a quarter of all U.S.-based timeshare resorts are located in Florida, so this is an important topic for millions of timeshares owners. So let’s take a look at what is happening, especially in central Florida which has the largest concentration of timeshare resorts in the state as well as hosting the headquarters of most branded timeshare companies.
Florida has certainly had an increase in reported COVID cases, which can be seen on the Florida Department of Health website.
A county-by-county breakdown of the numbers will put these numbers into perspective. For instance, the total cases in Orange County (where Orlando and the theme parks are located) are a total of 6,056 positive cases recorded since testing began in March. Of those, 428 have required hospitalization and 53 people have died with having COVID in their system. The deaths represent just under one percent of all cases in Orange County and, while any deaths are tragic, this is a small number of the nearly 1.4 million residents of the county.
The numbers are even lower in neighboring Osceola County, which hosts several timeshare resorts in close proximity to Disney and other area theme parks. A confirmed 1,222 cases have resulted in 24 deaths in a county of just over 375,000 people.
The Orange County Health Department has the following noted on its website: “The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.” In relation to the latest positive cases, the median age of those testing positive in the county has hovered around 30 for the past two weeks, with yesterday’s median age at 29.
Across Florida, from the 3,281 recorded COVID-related deaths to date, 1,724 were staff or residents of a long-term care facility. So nearly 53 percent of the deaths statewide were connected to these care facilities.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press briefing yesterday in Orlando to address concerns with representatives of Orlando Health. You can view the press conference by clicking here.
During the briefing, the Orlando Health doctors and executives stated that 20 percent of the patients their doctors have seen with COVID were individuals who came into the hospital for unrelated ailments such as a broken ankle or a gunshot wound. It was only after their admittance that they discovered they had been exposed to the virus, since everyone requiring a hospital procedure or treatment is tested for the virus.
Officials have reiterated that increased testing has played a role in the increased positive test results, as has a neglect to socially distance among the younger residents. Such negligence led to the state revoking the liquor license of a bar near the University of Central Florida.
Keep in mind that Orange County has implemented a mandatory face mask order. However, all of the major theme parks and attractions have already implemented, or will be adopting upon reopening, the wearing of face masks when entering their premises.
The intent here is not to sway opinions one way or the other but to present the facts as they currently exist and to cut through some of the rhetoric which exists in the media surrounding this issue. Vacationers want to get out and enjoy their timeshares and visit amusement parks such as SeaWorld, Universal and Disney, as evidenced by the demand for online bookings to Walt Disney World in anticipation of their reopening on July 11.
We understand there are a number of factors that enter into the decision-making process to take a timeshare vacation. For those of you looking to come to Florida, and especially Orlando, review the numbers and please keep an open mind about visiting the destination.
Nearly all of the central Florida timeshare resorts are back open, with information about the branded resorts below:
Bluegreen Vacations – No change here as all Bluegreen club resorts are showing as open but Hotel Blake, which is still closed for renovations. Club associate resort Tropical Sands Resort opens next week and Pono Kai Resort at the end of July. All others are open. More details at https://www.bluegreenowner.com/featured/travel-advisory-resort-status.
Capital Vacations – All U.S.-based Capital timeshare resorts are open, with Coral Sands (Grand Cayman) and Sea Palace (St Maarten) still closed. Click https://www.capitalvacations.com/covid.php for more info.
Club Wyndham – Wyndham continues its slow and steady approach to reopening resorts, with Vintage Landing at Four Seasons (Missouri), Crotched Mountain Resort (NH), and Angel Fire Resort (NM) scheduled to reopen on June 30. All but a couple of the remaining closed resorts are due to open in July. For more information please visit https://clubwyndham.wyndhamdestinations.com/us/en/covid-19-information/list-of-impacted-resorts.
Diamond Resorts - Riviera Oaks Resort & Racquet Club (California), Barefoot’n Resort, Parkway International Resort and Polynesian Isles Resort (Kissimmee) are all due to reopen tomorrow. A few U.S.-based Diamond timeshare resorts remain closed until July, including five in Hawaii. More information is at https://www.diamondresorts.com/covid-19-update, with resorts presumed open which are not listed.
Disney Vacation Club – big news for Disney timeshare owners as resorts at Walt Disney World are now open. One exception is that Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House will remain closed, with those owners moving to Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village. Grand Californian is still expected to reopen on July 23, with no date set as yet for Aulani. Please click on https://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/ for more info.
Grand Pacific Resorts – great news for Grand Pacific owners as timeshare resorts are now open except Indian Palms Vacation Club in Indio, California, which is scheduled for September 1. For more information please visit https://grandpacificresorts.com/resort-reopening-updates/.
Hilton Grand Vacations – Hawaii, Illinois and most New York City resorts are still closed. Please check https://www.hiltongrandvacations.com/en/travel-alert for more info.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations – Oak N’ Spruce Resort in South Lee, Massachusetts reopened yesterday. The remaining two closed resorts are scheduled to open in July. Visit https://holidayinnclub.com/safe-travels/resort-updates for more information.
Marriott Vacation Club – the reopening of Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at The Mayflower, Washington D.C., has been extended to July 1. Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club, Marriott Vacation Club Pulse San Francisco and Marriott Vacation Club Pulse New York City remain closed until further notice. All other U.S.-based Marriott timeshare resorts are open. For more details please visit https://hub.vacationclub.com/resort-updates/.
Vistana Signature Experiences – The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta is now open, which means all Westin timeshare resorts are now open. All Sheraton timeshare resorts remain open.
Westgate Resorts – The majority of Westgate timeshare resorts are open, with Westgate Historic Williamsburg Resort due to reopen next week. Westgate Leisure Resort, Westgate Blue Tree Resort, Westgate Palace Resort and Westgate Towers Resort have pushed their reopening out to August 3. Please go to https://www.westgateresorts.com/coronavirus-travel-advisory/ for the latest information.
WorldMark – Several Washington state resorts opened this week, as did resorts in Oregon and Utah. Most remaining California resorts are due to reopen this weekend. For more details, please visit https://www.worldmarktheclub.com/news/covid19_impacted_resorts.shtml.