With Canadian snowbirds not coming to South Florida because of COVID-19, businesses suffering

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – With the border from Canada to the United States closed, snowbirds are staying up North and so is their money. Experts said the financial impact from snowbirds is hard to calculate on a local level, but statewide, the figures do show that Canadians bring about bring about $6.5 billion annually to Florida’s economy

This year, because of their absence, the loss is already being felt by local businesses who are painstakingly waiting until the border reopens.

At Carinis Pizza and Pasta in Hallandale Beach, the traditional pizza pies are still being served, but with far fewer customers at the tables because of the lack of seasonal visitors.

“For us, usually, that’s what kind of makes our business,” Pedro Sandoval of Carinis said. “I would say it is 50 percent of our business here because they come down for the 3, 4 months and it helps us out. Definitely makes our business run. We don’t know what to expect this year. We’re just waiting, fingers crossed.”

The United States to Canada land border has been shutdown since March because of the pandemic, which has isolated hundreds of thousands of snowbirds on the international side.

It’s why Canadian license plates are few and far between on South Florida roads, usually plentiful this time of year.

Snowbirds are not even able to cross the border to come south in RVs.

“Normally here, at this time, we start seeing our French-Canadian guests start coming in,” Marlene Hernandez, the general manager of Holiday Park, said.

At the Holiday RV Park in Hallandale Beach, most foreign snowbirds have delayed their reservations instead of outright canceling them, Hernandez said.

“If we see they don’t open in January, then we probably could see a bigger decline in reservations. (I’m) hoping it doesn’t come to that. I hope not," Hernandez said.

It’s important to note that Canadians can still fly to the United States, but most are not choosing to travel over worries and concerns about COVID-19.

The land border is supposed to reopen Nov. 21 but that date could change depending on pandemic numbers.

Related links

List of cases by city in South Florida

Hospital bed capacity and availability

Coronavirus cases in Florida schools

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About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.