Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has a message for the thousands of "spring breakers" who have crowded the Sunshine State's beaches amid the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nation and the world: Go home.
In an interview on "Fox and Friends" Thursday, the popular Republican leader was asked if he would be ordering beaches closed. DeSantis said the state would be expanding its restrictions on congregations:
The message I think for spring breakers is the party is over in Florida. You're not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state. Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it's Miami beach, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater Beach are closed entirely for the time being. … We would tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better, but that is not what we're looking for.
Some beaches will remain open, but CDC guidelines remain
As Mediaite noted, while DeSantis said some beaches will remain open, he said that local municipalities still have to comply with the Centers for Disease Control's virus prevention guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people.
The Florida governor also noted the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in high levels of cancelations that have slammed the tourism and hospitality industry.
"Regardless of local decisions, you're not going to be able to congregate like those images that you saw," he said. "That's just not something that we are going to allow and so you want to work constructively with the locals to get the best solutions."
A major blow to the travel industry
DeSantis' concern over the economic impact of the coronavirus come as the U.S. Travel Association declared Tuesday that 5 million travel-related American jobs will be lost due to the coronavirus.
As The Hill reported, the trade association estimates that 4.6 million industry jobs will be cut as a result of necessary social distancing measures and cuts to air travel. According to the association, 25% of the Americans who work in the travel industry will lose their jobs during the economic fallout.
Additionally, the association said the decline in travel will result in a major $809 billion hit to the U.S.
Americans' travel expenditures are expected to dip by $355 billion in 2020, or six times the impact that the 9/11 terrorist attacks had on the industry.
Gov. DeSantis to Florida spring breakers: 'The party's over' www.youtube.com