By Josh Foster-Storch
Spring Break: A staple of the American college experience. For one week, students travel, maybe drink and have “the time of their lives” at their beach or destination of choice. 2020 and 2021 have been a change of pace and that experience has been altered quite a bit for Spring Break 2021. Due to COVID-19, the week of Spring Break across the country has been getting cancelled for many and it’s going to be hitting Tampa hard economically but it is for a justifiable reasoning.
Florida has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic due to lack of strict guidelines and personal accountability. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has been a staunch defender of keeping Florida open during the pandemic and has spoken at length about how the state is inviting out-of-staters to come for a trip of any kind.
This has been a gross neglect of a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Florida, being the hotspot for COVID-19 that it is, must come down on the “super spreader” businesses or locations.
Tampa is the third largest city in the state of Florida, with over 350,000 people living in and around the city. Including neighboring cities such as Saint Petersburg and Clearwater, it is the second largest tri-state area in the state with over 750,000 residents.
With all the beaches and resorts located in the area, Tampa is at high risk of increasing the spread of COVID-19 with Spring Breakers potentially still vacationing in the area.
As seen earlier last month, the city of Tampa had another super spreader event when Buccaneers fans took to the streets and flooded downtown Tampa.
Not to mention, the Super Bowl parade covered riverside areas again with maskless Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor spoke recently on these events and said that punishments were coming. So far no arrests have been made, but hopefully she will enforce strict guidelines that all residents and visitors of the city must abide by.
Authorities of Tampa have tried to maintain order through all the chaos that this pandemic has brought to the city, but there is a silver lining to all of this concern about infection rates.
Tampa’s small businesses have been shaken to the core by the pandemic due to continued support from Ron Desantis to keep dining options available throughout the state. This has mitigated the loss in business and business owners are fortunate that they have not shut down like many others within the country.
Unfortunately though, businesses are more than likely going to experience an uptick in customers for the month of March because visitors and possibly residents too are still going to try and make it for the Spring Break festivities.
If the city of Tampa really does want to stop the spread of COVID-19, they have to reduce theSpring Break tourism and initiate strict social-distancing guidelines to ensure what already is bad does not become worse.