Coronavirus in Florida Claims an Entire City but Everyone Survived
By Alexander Strange
As Florida reopens its beaches in the midst of a global pandemic and the death count rises, the coronavirus has now claimed an entire city.
Thankfully, the mermaids are okay.
The community in question is Weeki Wachee, a popular tourist destination about 50 miles north of Tampa, known for its mermaid shows since the 1940s and, at one time, the biggest tourist attraction in the Sunshine State.
The actual show is in nearby Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and as the name suggests, the water the mermaids frolic in is fed by crystal clear springs. Dressed in mermaid fishtails, women perform for audiences under water in what amounts to a giant aquarium, separated from their audiences by a large glass partition.
But since the outbreak of COVID-19, the shows have been halted and the mermaids drydocked. And with the drop-off of tourist dollars flowing into the actual city of Weeki Wachee, it has become insolvent.
Weeki Wachee never was much of a city—it has only 13 inhabitants. It was incorporated so it could be put on the map to make it easier for tourists to find. But this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation dissolving it as a corporate entity.
During its heyday, Weeki Wachee’s mermaids attracted the likes of Esther Williams, Elvis Presley, and Larry the Cable Guy.
The springs have been featured in several movies and most recently played an important role in J.C. Bruce’s book Strange Currents.
Elsewhere in Mermaid News
In Great Falls, Montana, one of the local hotspots is the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge, a tiki bar where patrons enjoy ogling mermaids swishing about through a window to the adjoining hotel’s swimming pool.
The coronavirus epidemic shut down the hotel, and yet another school of mermaids was grounded.
But Montana is lifting social distancing restrictions, and the owner of the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge pitched health officials that even though public pools are still closed the mermaid show should be allowed to go on.
The health department agreed—as long as proper social distancing is maintained. In this case meaning only one mermaid at a time.
STRANGE FACT: Weeki Wachee is a Seminole Indian name meaning “little spring” or “winding river.”