PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Along with the latest news of Coronavirus spreading to the Sunshine State, airlines are expected to take a $30 billion financial loss nation-wide.
Local airports with spring travelers are preparing.
In Panama City Beach, visitors flying in and out of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport are paying attention while going about their travel plans.
“Just trying to avoid any sneezes and be careful,” said Steve Olson, a visitor from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Another visitor from Chicago, Maureen Mitchell, said although she is on high alert, the virus hasn’t stopped her from flying.
“Nobody’s changed plans yet but I think everybody’s very much concerned and talking about it right now,” she said.
Larry Lotzer, another visitor from Minnesota, said the virus won’t impact his plans.
“I wash my hands frequently, and use common sense,” he said. “I’m here for the winter and ready to return to cold Minnesota and the germs will all be killed in the cold.”
A visitor waiting for family to join him in Panama City Beach, Bruce Dugstad, said he does have concerns, especially with loved ones flying.
“We’re trying to be protective, washing our hands frequently,” said Dugstad. “Trying to do with the precautions and make sure our kids are safe too.”
ECP officials said they are continuing to monitor the situation closely and work with the Health Department to take all appropriate precautions to keep visitors and locals safe and informed.
Read the full statement from ECP Executive Director, Parker McClellan, below:
“The safety and security of our passengers is our number one priority.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and working with the Florida Department of Health, local health officials and other agencies to ensure we continue to take the most appropriate measures. As we move into the spring break travel season, we will continue to take precautions as directed by health officials and monitor the situation to keep tourists and local passengers informed.
We recommend passengers who wish to make a change in their travel reach out directly to their airline carrier for more information.
For the most updated travel information on COVID-19, visit the CDC website.”