The attorney who hit headlines last year dressed as the Grim Reaper to patrol Forida's beaches has condemned the arrival of spring breakers, asking partygoers if their trip is really worth it.
Daniel Uhlfelder urged holiday-goers to reconsider their travel plans as Florida continues to battle the virus with more than 2 million cases recorded in the state.
"It's ludicrous to think this conduct won't do anything except to increase transmission and deaths," the Florida native told Newsweek. "These folks are going to be travelling back to where they came from and transmitting it [the virus]... It will prolong the recovery even more."
Thousands of spring break partiers descended on Miami Beach streets and dismissed pandemic guidelines leading to 1,000 arrests over the weekend. City officials said a majority of those arrests involved people from outside of Florida.
Social media was ablaze with cellphone videos showing wild partying and at least one masked reveler declaring, "COVID's over, baby!"
That sentiment is not shared by Uhlfelder, who believes the sunshine state is "not out of the woods yet" and with a new variant at play it would be "dangerous" to think otherwise.
"It is overloaded. Everyone is coming to Florida," the trial attorney said in reference to the swathes of spring break partiers. "People are coming to Florida because other states are taking [the pandemic] more seriously and taking precautions. It's upsetting because we're trying to get this under control and this will just prolong the recovery even more."
Although he has retired his Grim Reaper outfit for the time being, Uhlfelder is still committed to keeping those in his state safe.
"I would urge them to think about people they know or have died or are very sick," he said. "Is it really worth it [spring break] for someone else's future? Is the good time really worth it if you knew it would increase the chances of getting really sick or dying?"
"They're coming to Florida because the Governor has invited them to Florida," Uhlfelder added. "It's tragic he's taken such a lax approach to public safety."
Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila declared a state of emergency across the city and imposed an 8 p.m. curfew in its entertainment district on Saturday following "significant concerns relating to larger than expected spring break crowds" raised by the Miami Beach Police Department.
Citing over 1,000 arrests made in the city so far, Miami Beach officials warned Sunday that unruly crowds gathering by the thousands had become a serious threat to public safety. People were reported to be fighting in the streets, destroying restaurant property and refusing to wear face coverings.
City officials said the crowds included not just students but other adults looking to enjoy a break in a state where restrictions have been relaxed amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Uhlfelder believes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a lot to answer for and condemned his "lax approach to public safety."
There is no statewide mask mandate in place in Florida and last September, DeSantis issued an executive order barring individuals from being fined for not wearing masks.
One of the major issues for Uhlfelder is that those who are coming to Florida as tourists will inevitably be returning to where they live and transmitting the virus.
"Don't just open the floodgates. We need to think long term," he warned. "If you have to come to Florida, please take measures. I don't think wearing a mask is too much. I don't think not going to a crowded restaurant or bar is too much.
"I know spring break is something where people want to let loose and enjoy themselves but let's do it in a way that doesn't get someone sick or potentially die."
The total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida has surpassed two million, with 32,742 total reported deaths, as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
A total of 8,186,888 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the state, as of Sunday, according to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Back in early March, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned: "Every time there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country," at a White House press briefing.
"We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time," she said at the time.