Sarasota County tourism and health officials look ahead to spring break

Spring Break Siesta Beach

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB)- Rolling waves and white sand are just two reasons why the Suncoast is a top vacation destination. Including beaches like Siesta Key Beach are hot spots for spring breakers, but this year it might look a little different.

Thanks to the pandemic, many are in uncharted waters considering seasons past.

“February and the first two weeks of March were the best tourism we’ve ever had,” said Visit Sarasota President Virginia Haley.

Haley said while tourism and revenue are down because of the pandemic, this year it’s slowly coming back.

“We’re running about 10% to 15% below to where we were last year,” said Haley.

Businesses along Ocean Boulevard are unsure of what spring break 2021 will bring.

“It’s kind of a hard question right? How do you expect anything right now,” said the marketing director for Daiquiri Deck, Amber Halt.

Halt said they’re not expecting the same amount of people as before, but they remain optimistic.

“We’re not expecting the same influx as usual,” said Halt. “We’re slowly crawling out of this pandemic trying to go back to normal a little bit.”

Halt said they dialed back spring break advertising. Instead, it’s a waiting game for what’s to come.

“We’re really just taking it easy, we’re not promoting anything too heavy this year,” said Halt. “We’re just seeing what it brings us.”

There is also another concern when it comes to spring break 2021.

“It could cause a potential spike in Sarasota County,” said Florida Department of Health Public Information Officer Steve Huard.

Huard said the chance for a spike is balanced with community response.

“It has been very good so as long as the community continues to do the things that we have been doing,” said Huard. “The influx of visitors shouldn’t create too big of an issue for us.”

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