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Majority of Floridians in favor of not loosening social distancing rules

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Three out of four Floridians told a Quinnipiac pollster the economy should stay closed until public health officials deem it safe to open.

Governor Ron DeSantis argues opening up doesn’t necessarily mean things will go back to normal.

“So much attention is being paid to, oh well the Governor of Colorado has announced this will open, the Governor of Georgia this or that. Yeah, you can announce those things, but are people going to have confidence in coming out or not?” said DeSantis.

National surveys show Americans will still be hesitant to travel even six months out.

In March, 87 percent of Americans had plans to travel within the next six months, now that number sits at just 72 percent.

More than half say if they do travel they aren’t getting on a plane and four out of ten say the same about staying in a hotel.

The numbers paint a bleak picture for the recovery of Florida tourism.

“This is the largest crisis the global tourism industry has ever faced,” said VISIT FLORIDA CEO Dana Young.

VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency, calculates between March 1 and April 11, hotel revenues were down $1.6 billion in Florida compared to the same time last year.

Next month, scheduled domestic flight capacity is down 65 percent and international capacity nearly 80 percent.

However, the agency is seeing some positive signs.

Website traffic has recovered to where it was a month ago and the number of people accessing the site’s travel safety information page is significantly higher than previous disasters.

“This tells us that people want to know if it is safe to travel to Florida because the desire to visit our state still exists,” said Young.

Gov. DeSantis remains hopeful some of Florida’s unique natural tourist attractions will be able to operate easily within social distancing guidelines.

“Some of the stuff that we offer, you know our parks, you know beaches, all that stuff. I think people are going to view that as positive,” said DeSantis.

Projections for the opening of large tourist attractions like theme parks vary.

Some analysts have suggested June opening dates, while others predict they’ll remain shuttered until the start of next year.

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