Traveling during the coronavirus outbreak

John Conlow, Opinions Editor

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The night before leaving for my spring break trip, it was back and forth as to whether my father and I should be going to the nice beaches in Clearwater, Florida.

As I was driving home from school, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was still waiting for the notification that baseball’s spring training was canceled.

The coronavirus has affected so many events in the world, and baseball was one of them, unfortunately. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida is tracking a total of 167 cases of the virus, with six deaths in the state.

I was going to the sunshine state to see the Philadelphia Phillies train. They do this for the whole month of March. It was going to be great, but once they canceled, we didn’t know what else there was to do in that area.

Well, we decided to go, so here’s what it was like to travel during an outbreak.

We winged the whole trip, meaning we decided each day what to do.

It honestly wasn’t what I expected. I anticipated fewer people than I saw. The airport was quiet, not like a zoo where there’s a mad rush of people running to their gate, like the time my family and I ran to the gate after Transportation Security Administration (TSA). We got through TSA in about two minutes, after they searched through my bag. It was probably the fastest TSA check at the Philadelphia International Airport ever.

I finally had leg-room on the plane— my dad and I didn’t have to squish with someone else. The plane was delayed about an hour before leaving, so I didn’t really know what that was about.

We finally lifted off and it wasn’t a bad flight, no crying babies, no people talking the whole time; it was finally peaceful. I only noticed two people with masks on the flight and not one person mentioned the virus. It was kind of nice.

In the Tampa Bay International Airport, it wasn’t a ghost town as I suspected it might be. There were fewer people around, but it still seemed pretty busy.

We touched down in Florida, and there was no mention of a virus. We stopped at Target to get some essentials. As seen in New Jersey, no shelves were empty except for a few. There was still water, although I’m not sure if there was toilet paper. I did see one person leaving with it.

It was still pretty busy in Florida, with many people near the beach hanging out, drinking and spending time with their families. It was like no one knew about the virus. I think its good people don’t talk about it because coming to this state is like a vacation from everything.

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team was staying at our hotel and they seemed to have nothing to do. They mainly just walked around and hung out at the pool.

The only thing I thought about was why no one was talking about it. My dad and I kept reloading Twitter and the News app to see any updates. My friend texted me and said she canceled her trip to Arizona because of a potential travel ban to New Jersey. I was a bit worried due to being in a different state.

On our first night, we decided to drive down to the beach and go to a famous spot named Frenchy’s, which serves the best grouper sandwiches. It was pretty crowded surprisingly and still no masks or mention of the virus. We had to park a couple of blocks away because there were so many people on the beach.

The day after, there was a bunch of people on the beach and again people seemed to forget about it. I was observing and never saw anything.

For the rest of the trip, it seemed nonexistent to me. I didn’t hear anyone talking about it. People just drank and had fun. I mean, it was still spring break.

Coming back, the airport wasn’t crowded, whatsoever. We got through TSA lightning-fast and just relaxed until the flight. Luckily, the plane wasn’t crammed with people.

Driving home, New Jersey was a ghost town because of Gov. Phil Murphy’s suggested curfew and the closure of many stores. The curfew is set from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice. Also, all restaurants, gyms, and clubs must be closed, except for take-out or delivery, according to

Honestly, this trip wasn’t what I expected it to be. I thought Florida would be empty, but since spring training was canceled, fans didn’t want to waste their money, and so they decided to come anyway. It was an interesting experience.