Cities brace for spring break crowds as health officials urge caution

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — As more states and cities begin to loosen restrictions there are concerns about doing too much, too soon. That begins with spring break and vacationers heading to warmer weather.

The CDC released a new set of guidelines Monday outlining the things fully-vaccinated Americans can do safely and traveling is not one of them. 

Tourism is Florida’s No. 1 industry, generating over $91 billion in 2018, and last year spring break was one of the first big casualties of the pandemic as the U.S. went into strict lockdowns, shutting down beaches across Florida just as alarming scenes of college students heedlessly drinking, dancing and getting up close without masks were plastered across social media.

Miami tourism officials say they lost billions of dollars during those three months last year.

Now, those beach towns are hoping to make up for some of those losses, even as they take precautions to discourage reckless behavior and curb the spread of the virus. Miami tourism officials have spent $5 million on the city’s biggest national advertising campaign in 20 years.

Some communities say they are starting to see visitors return, even though health experts warn that the outbreak that has killed more than a half-million Americans is far from over.

California is discouraging visitors from out of state, warning tourists they will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, and a season that ordinarily would see crowds at beaches, theme parks and ski mountains is expected to be thin. The state, with miles of coastline and popular spring break spots like Disneyland and the Santa Monica Pier, has some of the nation’s toughest pandemic restrictions.

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