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Remote workers flock to Florida, boost economy during pandemic

Remote workers flock to Florida, boost economy during pandemic. (WPEC)
Remote workers flock to Florida, boost economy during pandemic. (WPEC)
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Most people think of the Sunshine State as the perfect spot for vacation, but as employees continue working remotely, they're seeing it as a spot to stay for awhile or even move to.

“I get very impatient when I sit in one place. It can actually cause a lot of anxiety and depression for me, so COVID has created a lot of issues with that but having the opportunity to do things online, has set the stage for success for people like me,” said Ryan Risenberg, who is visiting Palm Beach Gardens from Colorado.

Riesenberg is a day trader and student who's been able to travel the country during COVID.

“Between Colorado, where I presently live, Kentucky where I’m from, and Florida where I have a lot of friends and where there’s a beach,” said Riesenberg, who gets tested for coronavirus before and after each trip.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, county-by-county

Hillary Keller got just in town from Kentucky.

“We started working from home in march, which was great while it was still sunny and we had a good summer," she said. "Once it started to get gloomy and cold back at home, I saw myself becoming a little less productive."

That's what inspired her to spend the month in Boynton Beach.

“I thought why not chase the sun and come somewhere warm," Keller said.

Keller isn't alone; more and more people working remotely are coming to visit, and some to even stay, in South Florida.

“I think COVID absolutely entices more people. It opened more companies minds to doing that, that’s for sure, we’ve heard that over and over again,” David Gunther said.

Realtor David Gunther of The Gunther Brayboy Group has seen the real estate market change significantly because of the pandemic.

“We’re getting the heavily taxed states to consider us now," he said. "And there’s migration. States like California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania...we’re seeing a lot of that happen."

And they could keep coming.

The website flex jobs has research showing around 39 million Americans will still be working from home this year and 80 percent of employers will keep their employees remote post pandemic.

“I’ve found myself to be a lot more productive down here,” Keller said.

READ MORE: DeSantis: Florida to get $850 million in emergency rental assistance

“I’m definitely keeping my eye on some properties around here,” Riesenberg said.

Another reason more people are coming to South Florida: there are less COVID restrictions here than some states that still have lockdowns.

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