Snowbird season shapes up differently amid pandemic

For those who can travel, cold weather nudges some to head south to the state of Florida.


Some snowbirds are not coming to Florida this winter.

“With the Canadian snowbird tenants, as soon as the virus hit, they were afraid with their healthcare and had to leave early and go back home,” said Sara Forst Griffin, a realtor with ReMax Aerospace in Rockledge. “I haven’t heard from those couples this year.”

Others are taking precautions, though disagreeing with some of the government restrictions.

“We feel that it is very dangerous to come down right now,” said Dorothy Kizoff, of Toronto, who has wintered in Florida for the past seven years. “Because the U.S. has not clamped down on its people the way the Canadians have, many of us don’t agree with the policies that are in place for restricting people, such as mask wearing.

“The other thing is the election. We didn’t know what was going to happen, so we’ll suffer the cold for another year,” Kizoff said. “We snowbirds are irritated because it has affected our lives.”

Rick Wiedenhoeft, manager and team leader with Keller Williams in Suntree, said COVID-19 definitely has impacted seniors.

“People 55 years and over who were planning on moving to Central Florida have totally changed their plans. They are playing it safe with their health. Some of them are renting and are hesitant, concerned that the value of the home they might be buying will go down (due to the strong seller’s market). The snowbirds here are being very judicious with their money. The snowbirds that are here own their own homes.”

For those who can travel, cold weather nudges some to head south.

“I normally live in Florida seven months a year and live in the Chicago area (for) five months,” wrote Jennifer DeVries on NextDoor. “This year, we were only in Chicago for six weeks, because it’s been locked down and there was a lot of looting and violence. So, we came back to Florida, where things are calmer and more open.”

For some, warm winters are too attractive to pass up.

“We have a small house in Melbourne and a small house in Henderson, North Carolina,” wrote Sandra Gulbrandsen on NextDoor. “We love the warm winters in Florida. We feel we have the best of both places.”

Forst Griffin said people still want to be here because of the climate and the amenities.

“Some have decided to live down here full-time instead of being snowbirds,” she said.