Beer cans and disposable face masks are a common occurrence at Fort Lauderdale beach during the college spring break weeks. Photos by Anizia Fulmore.
The Center for Disease and Control and Prevention is recommending all Americans postpone non-essential travel until being fully vaccinated, but that did not stop some South Carolinians from taking a “make your own spring break.”
Because of COVID-19 most universities and colleges have created “wellness days” throughout the semester instead of a traditional spring break. The beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami have been packed recently with spring breakers beginning in February and ending in late April.
The crowds continue to increase.
There are orange cones separating sections on the beach to enforce social distancing, masks are required and no large gatherings of more than 10 are allowed currently on the beach.
In Miami, city officials mandated a curfew at 8 p.m. on south beach to enforce safety.
This curfew has caused most of the college students to visit Fort Lauderdale because of the open-door policy set in place by Mayor Dean Trantalis. He advised visitors to come see Fort Lauderdale’s “outstanding beaches and fine dining” as a way to enhance tourism and boost the economy.
The mayor encouraged visitors to come to Fort Lauderdale because of the 8 p.m. curfew, as long as visitors continued to follow social distancing guidelines and saying “think about their own social responsibility,” in a press release.
Ayana Franklin Sims, a student from Spartanburg, flew for the first time to visit Fort Lauderdale for her spring break with her close friends.
“I came because it wasn’t pricey and it wasn’t cold like Spartanburg,” Franklin Sims said. “People seem to be having a lot of fun and there was always something to do on the beach.”
Fort Lauderdale Police continue to patrol various sections of the beach with multiple command centers set up in case of an incident.
They declined to comment on the safety protocols that are taking place to maintain the crowds.
Ashton Platts, from Fort Mill, S.C., took her own spring break trip to Fort Lauderdale from graduate school at Winthrop University.
“The fresh air, warm breeze, and sunny sky makes me at peace and allows me to escape from reality,” Platts said.
Other states and cities have stricter restrictions so college students feel like Florida is the place to go.
“It easy to buy a plane ticket and fly to Fort Lauderdale. The clubs and restaurants were open late and you don’t see that in South Carolina,” Franklin Sims said.
Trevon King, Austin Douglas and Ayana Franklin Sims visited Ft. Lauderdale to create their own spring break from UofSC Upstate in Spartanburg.
The Fort Lauderdale police department has multiple command centers for extra caution. Photos by Anizia Fulmore.
Signs and orange cones were added to help enforce social distancing.
Though COVID restrictions are still in place, most masks were not worn on the beach or boardwalk.