Clearwater, Fla. — Spring Break has arrived in Tampa Bay, marking the unofficial start of the holiday season that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area’s beaches.
However, beachgoers may face an unpleasant situation as the red tide makes its mark on the coast.
What you need to know
- Spring break has begun in Tampa Bay, but visitors may face red tide threats along the beaches.
- Red tides have caused symptoms such as sore throats and coughing for some beachgoers.
- Businesses in the area hope that tourists will bypass the inconvenience caused by the red tide and contribute to the success of the peak season.
- Red Storm: See the latest stories, see a map of affected areas
The effects of red tide have caused some visitors to experience symptoms such as sore throats, sinus congestion and the occasional cough.
“It’s blowing my nose,” said beachgoer Sean Snook. “But you know it’s the coast so we’ll push through it.”
The red tide has left a bad taste in the mouths of some beachgoers, making a typical day at the beach a little less relaxing.
Local businesses like Us The Pizza in Clearwater Beach are hoping visitors will push through the comforts, as March is the start of peak season and business owners like Starvos Godevas are counting on increased tourist activity.
“I hope customers don’t feel that much,” Godevas said, “Obviously if the customer base is affected, business-wise I’m affected by it as well.” However, he is optimistic that the Red Tide won’t leave his trade in the red before the end of the senior season.
“I feel confident going into the season,” Godevas said. “I feel like we’re going to do well. It’s starting to pick up. The beach is nice. The weather, it couldn’t be better. So overall, I’m happy so far.”
A red tide is a phenomenon that occurs when excess nutrients in the water cause excessive growth of harmful algae. Algae produce toxins that can harm marine life, as well as cause respiratory irritation and other health problems in humans.
As the peak season approaches, local officials urge visitors to be aware of red tide conditions and take precautions to protect their health.