As the seasons change, this year’s spring comes amidst uncommon circumstances. The spread of covid-19 across the United States poses a unique challenge for those with travel plans. For snowbirds in Florida seeking to return home, the outbreak presents a number of hurdles for them to overcome.
While travel between states remains open, amenities between become sparse. Stay at home orders vary state to state, but 42 states adopted some form of mandatory social distancing. As a result, many businesses closed. Restaurants shuttered, and those remaining open serve only take out and delivery. Some states permit lodging like hotels to stay open, but many closed.
Rest areas present another concern. While many remain open, some states closed theirs. For example, in Vermont and New Hampshire officials closed their rest stops. In a bizarre sign of the times, stops along Interstate 80 in Nebraska closed after someone stole their toilet paper.
Facing these extenuating circumstances, snowbirds face a difficult choice on whether to venture home or remain in Florida.
Snowbirds Navigate Difficult Situation
For some, the choice to remain comes with further questions. They wonder how long they’ll need to hunker down in Florida before being able to make the trek home.
Connie McCormack, a resident of Rhode Island, told Naples News she plans to remain in Florida at least through April. However, important medical appointments urge her return shortly thereafter.
“Hopefully we are able to find motels along the way,” she said. Even once she arrives home, she faces a 14 day self-quarantine before being able to leave home.
For those without pressing matters that require their return, the best advice is to stay in Florida until restrictions lift. Not only is the return journey fraught with new problems, but it is the safer choice for both themselves and their communities.
However, those that must return should take precautions. Planning out the route ahead of time ensures no surprises take one by surprise. Calling state DOTs to ask whether their rest stops stay open is a good start.