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Clearwater's Mayor Expects 'Staycation' Crowd For Memorial Day

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard foresees a busy Memorial Day weekend at Clearwater Beach.

Memorial Day is usually a busy time in Clearwater. City leaders say this year will be no different.

Mayor Frank Hibbard says the sand and hotels will be packed along Clearwater Beach. It’s a popular destination with Midwesterners and Canadians, but Hibbard thinks his city will attract more of a staycation crowd this weekend.  He compared the situation with what happened after the 2008 financial crash. 

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

"You were taking in everything from Birmingham to Nashville, Atlanta, and over to South Carolina because people didn't feel as comfortable flying or didn't want to spend the money,” Hibbard said. “And they were spending more money on the overnight accommodations and food. And I think we're going to have a repeat of that over the next 12 months.”

City ambassadors will be on the beach to remind visitors of social distancing guidelines. Hotels are taking extra cleaning steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  “I think having these types of protocols in place and being able to identify them for people is going to give them a lot of peace of mind that it is safe,” Hibbard said. 

In addition to hotels, short-term vacation rentals will be available for tourists in Pinellas County.