Gulf Coast - Coronavirus rekindles oil spill memories
The spring of the coronavirus feels a lot like the summer of oil to residents along the Gulf Coast.
Bars and restaurants are empty in Florida because of an invisible threat nearly a decade after the BP oil spill ravaged the region from the ocean floor up, and condominium reservations have taken a nosedive in Alabama. There’s no crude on the sand, just fear and uncertainty over COVID-19, the disease caused by the new threat. Some beaches are closed to limit crowds.
No one is rolling dice or playing the slots in Mississippi’s casinos, which are closed to slow the viral spread, and other businesses are seeing a slowdown. The party has all but stopped in New Orleans, where Bourbon Street is eerily quiet, its bars and nightclubs shuttered for who knows how long.
“The parallels with 2010 are …. I don’t even know if I have the words,” said Tony Kennon, mayor of the tourist-dependent town of Orange Beach, Alabama.