Clearwater Beach businesses experiencing the cost of COVID-19

The streets along Clearwater Beach were eerily quiet Friday, despite the fact that many were still on spring break. 

“Desolate, tumbleweeds, nothing,” described Ryan Vogel, who runs Ryan's Island Café.

His business would normally be swamped this time of year, but instead, he’s had to lay off some workers and worries he might have to cut more.

”By taking a huge population off our beach that would normally help us thrive, it's making a lot of families hungry,” Vogel said. 

On the sand Friday, it was relatively busy, but far from the jam-packed scene earlier in the week. Pinellas County beaches have been ordered to shut-down beginning at midnight. 

“It is sad to see everything closing down and we can’t do anything. I came to relax and I feel stressed now,” said Ellen Krugman, on vacation from Philadelphia. 

Meanwhile, at Jimmy Hula’s, managers said they’ve also had a major drop in sales since the beginning of the week. 

MORE: Beaches packed before county's closure goes into effect midnight Saturday

“Two days ago you could barely get thru... Now it’s like, where did everyone go?” said manager Ariel Martin. 

“What keeps me up at night is not knowing the next step,” said Steve Hayes, CEO of Visit St. Pete / Clearwater.  

He says the economic hit, could be in the millions. 

“I think the key element to this is the 'when' part.  When are people going be receptive to feel comfortable traveling?” he wondered. 

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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