PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Right now there 2 cases of Coronavirus confirmed in Hillsborough & Manatee counties by the CDC. 184 people are continuing to be monitored.
News Channel 8’s Christine McLarty is in Indian Rocks Beach speaking with local business owners to see if they’re worried about this cutting down on the number of tourists visiting, including tourists who may break their Spring Break plans.
Business owners said now that Coronavirus is in the Tampa Bay Area, they are cautiously concerned and have already started taking precautions. Ready Set Yo is a place many customers come to cool off during their day at the beach to enjoy iced coffee and protein shakes. “We certainly talked about it this morning with the news coming out,” said the owner, Mia Corrales. “We sent out a mass e-mail to all our employees letting them know if they feel signs of sickness to stay home, don’t come in even if the shift isn’t covered. We’re airing on the side of caution with that.”
The President & CEO of Crabby Bill’s Seafood Restaurant, Matt Loder, also sent the same precaution home to his employees. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re preventing any illness, any spread of illness but particularly this one,” said Loder. He encourages tourists and locals to take Coronavirus fears with a grain of salt. “We hope people don’t let themselves become panic-stricken over it,” said Loder. “Because a lot of people are counting on them coming out and spending money…me included!”
From a business standpoint, February through May is their busiest beach tourism season. Up to this point they have not seen any decline in customers but both business owners are cautiously concerned about the number of tourists who may not travel to this area for Spring Break since most of the customers travel down from the Midwest and Northeast. They said it’s a “wait and see” situation, all they can do is continue to be informed and up to date with the latest health reports.
The manager of Ready Set Yo said if anything the illness may encourage more tourists to drive instead of fly. She’s cautiously optimistic that the customers already have their plans made and will continue to make their way to this area.
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