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Most downtown Tampa businesses will brave the RNC

Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Nearly 4 in 5 downtown food and retail businesses plan to remain open during the 2012 Republican National Convention, early results of a Tampa Downtown Partnership survey show.

"So far, 108 of the 138 ground-floor businesses we have reached out to indicate they will be open," said Donna Chen, the partnership's director of marketing and communications. "Some of the others have indicated they have not decided what to do."

The partnership intends to contact more than 300 businesses that provide service or products in the downtown area.

When the survey is complete, the partnership will list the businesses and their hours during the RNC at www.tampasdowntown.com.

"Businesspeople know it's going to be fluid," Chen said. "Businesses are going to be getting more information, like learning that the media might be getting out of the convention at 11 p.m. so it might make sense to remain open until midnight."

Among the reasons business owners say they'll stay open is their expectation they'll have plenty of business with visiting delegates, news media and protesters as well as downtown office workers and locals who are curious about the convention, Chen said.

Some downtown businesspeople indicated last week they remained uncertain about downtown activity even after the U.S. Secret Service released maps showing street and parking closures and areas where pedestrian traffic would be restricted. In addition, businesses are awaiting word on the location of a security fence.

Here are highlights from a weekly RNC Host Committee media briefing Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, officials announced a partnership for a marketing campaign with programs to promote the Tampa area through the convention.

The initial dozen programs range from placing multipage sections about the region in Southwest Airlines' and US Airways' in-flight magazines to assembling a staff of 50 for a "social media command center" during the convention to monitor and interact with conversations on social media platforms.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7817

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