Mar 9, 2021 - News

Scaled back spring break could mean fewer Florida visitors

People gather on a beach for spring break in 2020.

People gather on Clearwater Beach during spring break last March despite world health officials' warnings to avoid large groups. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Colleges around the U.S. are scaling back spring break or canceling it entirely to discourage partying that could spread the coronavirus and raise infection rates back on campus, per the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Tourism is the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, generating over $91 billion in 2018, and last year spring break was one of the first big casualties of the pandemic.

  • Tourism officials say they lost billions of dollars during March, April, and May last year.

The state of play: Local hotels and businesses hope spring breakers return this year because of Florida's openness, and practice safe behavior in the sunshine.

  • Florida has no statewide mask rules, limits on capacity or other such restrictions, courtesy of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pro-business stance. But local governments can impose rules, and they vary widely.
  • Other states, like California, have discouraged visitors from out-of-state, with mandatory quarantines for travelers who decide to come.

What they're saying: Andrew Cohen, co-owner of Staying Afloat Party Boat, told the AP that his boats are nearly sold out for the rest of the month in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

  • "A lot of them are coming down from the colder states," he said. "And they were just sick of being cooped up for the year."

Virtual spring break: If you're a Neflix subscriber, you only have a few more days to watch Harmony Korine's orgastic film "Spring Breakers," which was shot around Tampa Bay.

  • The film — starring James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine — leaves Netflix on March 13.

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