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Snowbirds are on their way to Florida: Here's what needs to happen so COVID-19 cases don't get worse

As other states trend toward lower temperatures, travel to Tampa Bay is improving.

TAMPA, Fla. — As the weather gets worse in other parts of the country, it only gets better in Florida.

Over the course of the next two months, "snowbirds' will make their way back to our state at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise again across the United States.

Doctors warn that those traveling from states with spikes, need to be safe.

“The fact that you've just made maybe 1,000 or 1,500-mile trip, God knows what you're exposed to," said Dr. John Sinnot, an infectious disease expert with USF Health and Tampa General Hospital. "I would try to self isolate or self-quarantine for 14 days.”

It’s particularly important for visitors from places like Illinois. It is one of the top five states that visit our area this time of year. And parts of Illinois are seeing percent positivity of 11.9 percent.

“Take it easy, if you’re going to be here six months, two weeks is neither here nor there," Sinnott said. And if you want to go out, he recommends walks outside, especially at the beach.

Those outside options could be a key to keeping Florida from having another spike. With warm weather year-round, eating and entertainment options outside are always available. 

“If you don't want to get sick because of the winter, you might choose to come to a warm-weather destination like ours," said Santiago Corrada, the CEO and president of marketing agency Visit Tampa Bay.

He says other steps that local attractions and institutions have taken have helped to bring visitors back. 

"Requiring masks, requiring things to open up safely. All of our attractions, our venues have done it in a very safe way. And so I think that improves consumer confidence. They feel a little bit safer coming here," Corrada said.

It is still yet to be seen how many Canadian snowbirds will be able to come down this year because travel restrictions are still in place at the border. Outside the U.S., Canada is the most popular origin for Tampa Bay snowbirds.

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