ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — March is here, and you know what that means… more foot traffic on the beaches as spring breakers head for the sunshine.
Business owners are staying optimistic that this will lead to a better season financially, without setting us back in our fight against the pandemic; and so far, things are off to a good start.
Typically this time of year, it’s more out-of-towners at the beach than Floridians.
“Anything below like 74 or 5 at the beach is too cold,” said Tia Garland, a beachgoer and native Floridian.
But with the warmest weekend of the year upon us, it’s not just the out-of-towners hitting the sand.
“This is actually our second day out here. We came out here yesterday and we just came out to literally soak in the sun,” said Darryl Sweeper, a beachgoer and Floridian.
It’s a welcome sight for businesses that are hoping to have a better spring break season this year.
“This week I have a couple of spots open, and I’m booked solid almost through April, and even May, June,” said Maggie Caruso, Owner of the Coconut Inn on Pass-a-Grille Beach.
Surrounded by the top beaches in the country, with miles of shoreline to social distance, people are flocking to Florida.
“People have been really good about masking and really following safety protocols,” said Caruso.
And for the Coconut Inn, this may be one of the best years yet.
“The lack of international travel is really driving domestic,” said Caruso.
Restaurants are noticing the increase in visitors, too.
“You normally see Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and things like that, where this year, it’s every state in the country,” said Ken Hautmann and Kim Beidelschies, Co-owners of Chill Restaurant and Bar in St. Pete Beach.
They’re happy to have visitors fueling the economy, and hopeful they can do it without fueling the pandemic.
“Three to four months ago, people weren’t wearing masks and you had to fight with them, where now, I think people for the most part are kind of getting on board,” said Hautman.
With all these visitors comes a need to hire employees. So if you’re looking for employment, hotels and restaurants up and down Pinellas County are looking to fill all kinds of positions.