MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) -This year’s Spring Break is about to kick into high gear and Florida’s beach towns are expecting big crowds.
However, state tourism officials say they’re worried about the potential impact of the coronavirus on businesses.
Around the state, tourists are still flocking to Florida for Spring Break, despite concerns over coronavirus.
Visitors to Miami Beach’s South Beach will see handwashing stations directly on the sand. Others say they’ll be carrying their own hand sanitizer on vacation.
“I always have it on me, it’s like you walk up, touch railings, you go to class, you don’t want to touch your face. It’s just like bad,” said one Spring Breaker.
Officials are expecting between three thousand and five thousand visitors per day on South Beach through the Spring Break season.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Declares State Of Emergency Over Coronavirus
Washing Your Hands Is Best Defense Against Coronavirus, Not A Facemask
Here’s How To Track The Spread Of The Coronavirus In Real Time
Preventing Coronavirus: Best Miami Songs To Sing For 20 Seconds While Washing Your Hands
Coronavirus Concerns And Voting: Miami-Dade, Broward Election Officials Prepared To Protect Voters, Workers
List Of Disinfectants You Can Use Against Coronavirus
Think You Have Coronavirus? Call Florida’s COVID-19 Hotline Before Going To Doctor Or ER
A Centers for Disease Control warning isn’t stopping those who want to go on a cruise either. A day after the agency cautioned against ship travel, seven cruise ships left Port Miami, excited passengers waving as they departed.
So far, the state’s health department has identified at least 15 cases in the state. Two turned deadly, one near Pensacola, the other near Fort Myers.
Four cases have been confirmed in Broward County. To the south, Miami officials have canceled two major events – the Ultra Music Festival and Calle Ocho. Both of the events draw thousands of people every year. Ultra ticket holders were informed Monday night that refunds would not be given. Instead, their tickets would be good for the next time the event is staged in Sout Florida.
In canceling the events, Miami officials said they had to put public safety ahead of money.
But money is a concern for the hospitality industry. A meeting was held Monday in Miami Beach so they could hear directly from health officials.
“We’re doing everything we can get to get through this with the least amount of damage possible, obviously to public health and secondary to our economy,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
When asked if any of it keeps him up at night, Gelber said, “all of this keeps me up at night because there’s so much uncertainty.”
Dan Rowe, the head of Panama City Beach’s tourism operation, said he’s worried, too. However, he insists the Gulf coast town is open for business and safe for everyone.
“The coronavirus is out there but it’s no different here than it is at home. So until there are travel restrictions limiting people’s ability to travel around the southeast, come on down to the beach and take those same precautions you would at home,” he said.
AAA said the highest demand for gas in Florida is during the month of March. The state’s transportation department said it has added educational materials to rest stops to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.