Latin Students Flee City, Resort Residents Respond


Small businesses like Salad Fork rely on people spending time in summer homes.

Marin Creamer, Staff Writer

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of Latin families flocked to their out-of-state houses to seek shelter from Chicago’s dense urban environment. Some question whether people with the option to travel should do so when a contagious disease threatens the entire population. Meanwhile, the economies of many seasonal communities rely on the influx of vacationers. With economic benefits and freer guidelines, the prevailing sentiment among those with the means to shelter elsewhere is that there’s never been a better time to. 

Sophomore Giuliana Dowd, who currently resides at her lake house, says, “My family left Chicago so we could get some fresh air up at our summer home in Lake Geneva.” Rather than staying cooped up in the city, she enjoys summer activities while remaining socially distanced: “We are very fortunate to be able to escape the city and engage in activities such as playing golf, taking walks, going for bike rides, and relaxing at the lake. Our home division is very secluded, providing a safe space for my family and me,” she assures.

Likewise, Marianne Mihas, a junior at Latin, and her family fled to Florida. She prefaces, saying, “My family is lucky enough to have a second home in Florida, where corona is a lot better.” With looser restrictions, she can enjoy the beach and de-stress. Taking into consideration the sunny weather and broader range of freedom, Mariane says, “My parents were pretty adamant that this was the best place for us to be right now.”

Evan Jones, a freshman whose family plans to leave the state, says, “I am going to leave Chicago because cases are more common in the city, and my family and I are going to a place in Tennessee that is more rural and would decrease our chances of catching it.” Like many, Evan hopes that staying in Tennessee will benefit his family and that local Tennessee residents will be indifferent to his arrival. “I expect the majority of people who live in Tennessee to not mind my family going there because they would prefer not to be in quarantine,” he says.

Mamie Levi, a high schooler who lives in Nashville, confirmed Evan’s assumptions: “I think it is fine if people travel to Tennessee if they are safe and have been in quarantine,” she says. As a matter of fact, she plans on traveling to her lake house in Charlevoix, Michigan and maintaining social distancing while she’s there.

Despite a since-deleted chain of tweets from a Charlevoix local discouraging vacationers from traveling, most small business owners in the town depend on the revenue gained from summer tourists. Karey Scholton, the owner of the Salad Fork—a to-go restaurant that serves salads, acai bowls, and kombucha—says, “I welcome the visitors. Our small-town businesses need them to survive. We rely on tourists.” From a health perspective, she airs her concern: “We have guidelines in place to keep my employees safe. I don’t think [tourists] will strictly quarantine; I hope they use our online ordering or phone in.”

On the other hand, Jen Haaf, the owner of Bloom Floral Designs, a Michigan boutique floral designer, expects tourists to follow guidelines carefully. “I’m trusting that they have been self-monitoring before their arrival and will follow the rules once they get here,” she says. 

Marianne believes that out-of-state travel throughout the pandemic increased revenue for businesses. “Florida has missed most of their tourist ‘high season’ because of coronavirus, but a lot of people stayed longer than usual this year because their normal homes are still under stay at home orders or other restrictions, so the local businesses are getting more business later in the season than usual, which is great for them,” she explains.

Student emphasized that they are  continuing to observe social distancing guidelines in their new location. Perhaps, as long as people with the ability to travel venture to a secluded area and stay safe, they solely boost small businesses and their personal wellbeing.