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Tourism And COVID-19, A Rise in Domestic Violence During The Pandemic, And 'Find Me In Havana'

Restaurant tables and umbrellas out on the street, where cars usually drive on. A man on a bicycle passes by.
Al Diaz
Miami Herald
Seating at Pink Taco expands onto closed-off Ocean Drive in South Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Is spring break bringing needed business to Florida's ravaged tourism economy? Plus, a rise in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. And the story of Cuban actress Estelita Rodriguez in the new book "Find Me in Havana."

On this Tuesday, March 16, episode of Sundial:

Tourism and COVID-19

Travelers are escaping the stricter lockdowns and cold weather from across the U.S. and flocking to Florida beaches for spring break. South Florida’s economy is driven in large part by the hospitality and tourism industry which has been devastated by the pandemic.

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Last year there was a 34% drop of visitors to the Sunshine State compared to the year before. Orange County, which is home to Disney World, saw its lowest tourism tax collections since 2002.

We spoke with Bill Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. He said spring break visitors combined with the latest stimulus package passed into law will bring necessary help to the industry.

“The hospitality industry was the most adversely affected by this virus. Remember, all the hotels closed, the restaurants were closed, the beaches were closed, everything. There was no hope for restaurants early on. Now there are billions of dollars ready to flow for restaurants and employees and businesses are now able to reopen,” Talbert said.

When asked about the risks posed in having large groups of people gather for spring break, Talbert argued the majority of activities are outdoors and that young people partying only makes up a small percentage of the visitors to the region.

03-16-2021 SUNDIAL SEG A Tourism, the Pandemic, and COVID Relief.mp3

Rise in Domestic Violence

Stay-at-home orders that swept the country last spring worsened domestic violence. Sociologists warned about this possibility based on anecdotal evidence collected by non-profit organizations. Those suspicions are now confirmed by a new study put together by the National Commission on COVID-19. We spoke with University of Miami sociology professor, Alex Piquero, who led the study.

“The scope and range of the pandemic within a pandemic. The drastic adverse effects that this pandemic has had on women and children, not just with respect to domestic violence but also with respect to employment, employability and education,” Piquero said.

The study examined academic and government research from across the U.S. and found at least an 8% increase in domestic violence calls compared to 2019. Piquero argued the number is likely much higher since cases are generally underreported.

03-16-2021 SUNDIAL SEG B Domestic Violence During COVID.mp3

Find Me In Havana

Estelita Rodriguez was a rising star in 1950s Hollywood. The Cuban actress and singer from Havana played a variety of character roles in the film industry. She was tragically murdered at the age of 37, and no autopsy was ever conducted.

Her story has found new life in the new historical fiction book "Find Me in Havana."

Author Serena Burdick fills in the details of her life through the perspective of her daughter. "Find Me in Havana" is our Sundial Book Club selection for the month of March, you can join the club by going to Facebook.

03-16-2021 SUNDIAL SEG C Find Me In Havana.mp3

Stay Connected
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.