TAMPA, Fla. — Whether piling into a car or shuffling through an airport, summer often signals the start of vacation season. However, AAA found half as many Floridians will travel this summer compared to last summer.
“Staycations and safecations are becoming more the rage right now as compared to years past because with the coronavirus, the concern is ultimately you don’t want to get sick,” said AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins.
AAA’s survey found the coronavirus impacted travel plans in 2020 for more than 75 percent of Floridians. According to their results, within the next three months, 35 percent of Floridians would be comfortable taking a regional road trip in their own car compared to 18 percent who’d fly on a commercial airline.
“I feel like road trips ultimately offer a little bit more control over your environment than if you’re in a large public transit situation like on a plane, you're going to a bus station, or train station or something like that,” said Jenkins. “You have more ability to social distance. You know what the cleaning situation is in your own personal vehicle versus something else.”
Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce President Robin Miller says they’re seeing most people drive in from other parts of Florida or from areas close to the state line. Medical experts think it may be easier to control variables while driving, but recommend bring masks and sanitizers during stops.
The chamber also encourages people to wear masks when visiting.
“To anyone who may have that fear of going out especially given the current state of where we are with the pandemic, we are recommending that people stay home,” said Miller.
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If you are traveling, Dr. Paul Nanda, the Chief Medical Officer with TGH Urgent Care Powered by Fast Track, wouldn’t recommend getting on a plane, especially for the elderly or those with certain medical conditions.
Dr. Nanda says AirBNBs may be less risky than a hotel because of the foot traffic.
“The more distance we can keep between each other, the more we wash our hands and the more we mask wear, it’s really important,” said Dr. Nanda.