Letter from… Florida

By Megan Kovach a Senior Executive at Newgate Communications.

March in Florida means one thing – Spring Break season. ‘Snow Birds’, as we call them, migrate down from the North to enjoy Florida’s beautiful beaches, infamous amusement parks and unlimited sunshine. College students are awarded a week off of school, where pool parties, island hopping and beach days await alongside their freedom from the classroom.

Overnight these plans came to an abrupt halt when the Governor issued a state order to close down the public beaches, amusement parks and restaurant dining. A social peak is now replaced with social distancing.

This has caused a profound impact on our economy. What was once the most profitable season for Florida businesses has now turned to massive vacancies. Companies have closed their doors, jobs have been lost and people are hurting.

A beautiful resort that sits on St. Augustine’s historic beachline equipped with 800 staff to manage the hotel during Spring Break season now employs only 35 workers, operating at a scarce 15% capacity.

Politically, the bipartisanship of America is more apparent than ever, where the democrat versus republican turmoil on Capitol Hill slows the Senate from passing economic relief packages to help stimulate the economy.  

Our nation’s leaders quarrel over proposed plans and political agendas at a time when we need strength and unity most.  

Our world is currently at war fighting an invisible enemy. Personally, the coronavirus has become an adversary in my own life in more ways than one.

Today’s war heroes are not soldiers skilled in combat. Instead, they are our everyday civilians.

The doctors, nurses, supermarket clerks, delivery men and many more risk their lives to prioritise the needs of our people.  

One of these heroes happens to be my father, who is a Cardiologist at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. As a heart doctor, when patients complain of respiratory pain, a common symptom of COVID-19, they often see my dad first for help.

Four days ago, his first patient tested positive for COVID-19. This sent chills down my spine, knowing that every morning when my dad leaves for work could be the day he contracts the virus.

Although Florida still has its blue skies and beautiful beaches , we patiently await the return of happier times filled with sandy toes and tan lines, hoping the sunshine and ocean breeze will wash our worries away.

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