Jacksonville Beach hotels report uptick in reservations as Spring Break approaches

A local health expert says spring break is a high concern. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This

A local health expert says spring break is a high concern.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This Spring Break is expecting to look a little different from 2020. 

Local hotels said  they are already seeing an increase in reservations, concerning some about a surge of COVID-19 cases on the First Coast.

“Everybody wants to come to the beach and its been nice for the last month, so we’re seeing a lot of people coming down,” said John Hirt, the general manager for Hampton Inn Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront.

Hirt says this March looks completely different from last March.

“Last year at this time is right when COVID hit and reservations started canceling like crazy,” Hirt recalled. “It was right during the Players’ Championship Golf Tournament.”

Hirt said he is positive that this year hotels will be busier, but with the state of Florida’s COVID cases plateauing and more people vaccinated, there is still a concern about the virus’ spread. 

“Not enough of the population in Florida is vaccinated to stop the disease from spreading and we’re a little bit concerned,” said Director of Infection Prevention at UF Health Jacksonville Chad Neilsen. 

Neilsen says Spring Break is a high concern.

“We know that those who do participate on Spring Break are more likely to not where a mask, not social distance and kind of flout whatever health rules we have in place,” Neilsen explained. 

Neilsen said COVID-19 spikes come from indoor capacities or confined spaces without masking.

“Although most people who are going on spring break probably are not high risk for hospitalization or severe disease they need to think about their relatives who might be,” said Neilsen. 

Neilsen said it is important that people keep in mind the pandemic is still going on and should take proper precautions to protect themselves.