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Hospitality Group, DeSantis Warn Potential Travel Ban Could Harm Florida's Economy

Small Tin sign hands down. It reads, "Come in, we're open."
Benjamin Sibuet
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Adobe Stock
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association warns a travel ban would hurt the state’s economy. The group's reaction comes as Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio decry potential travel restrictions recent reports say the Biden Administration is considering.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), Governor Ron DeSantis, and Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio are decrying a potential travel ban after reports came out that the Biden administration is considering travel restrictions on Florida and other states where the U.K. coronavirus variant is spreading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 343 cases of the U.K. variant have been found in Florida, making the state top in the nation for the variant’s spread. California falls in second with 156 cases and New York is in third with 59 cases. A total of 932 cases have been found in the U.S.

“We echo concerns raised by Governor DeSantis and Senator Rubio about the harmful consequences of potential travel bans,” Carol Dover, President, and CEO of the FRLA said in a statement. “Instituting travel restrictions to Florida is not only bad policy but would erase the small steps towards recovery that Florida hotels and restaurants have made.”

Florida’s tourism industry is still attempting to rebound after pandemic lockdowns caused many businesses to shutter their doors last year. Some businesses are still missing key pieces needed to recover, like international visitors and conventions.

“I cannot underscore enough how reckless and economically harmful this would be to my state and the country as a whole,” Rubio says in a letter to President Joe Biden. “Instituting a travel ban, or any restriction of movement between the states would be an outrageous, authoritarian move that has no basis in law or science. Instead, it would only serve to inflict severe and devastating pain on an already damaged economy.”

His letter urges the President to instead focus on delivering more vaccines to Florida. Speaking at the Kings Gate Community in Port Charlotte today, DeSantis said any potential travel ban would be unconstitutional.

“We will oppose it 100%. It would not be based in science. It would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida,” DeSantis says.