Beach visits are the highlight of summers, but the Coronavirus pandemic has made it quite questionable. Along with other public spaces, beaches have also been closed until the virus is contained. However, in some American states such as Arizona, beaches are still open. So, the million-dollar question is, is it safe to visit the beach?
I recently faced the same dilemma as my friends, and I considered visiting the beach for a long-overdue reunion. However, we were unsure, so we contacted a few health experts to discuss the safety of a beach visit during the pandemic. In this article, I am sharing the questions I asked the health experts with you so that you can have a better idea of visiting the beach.
1. Are Beach Visits Safe?
We discussed the issue with an Asthma and Immunology expert, Tania Elliot. According to her, precautionary measures are still mandatory for every outdoor location. Though beaches and other outdoors are opening gradually, the need to maintain at least six feet of distance is still applicable. In comparison to the crowded indoor public places, outdoors is much safe if complete protocols are followed. Covering your face with a mask, avoiding close contact, and sanitization is imperative.
2. Which Beaches Are Now Open?
Almost every country is now planning to open its beaches, but the timeline varies. For acute safety, one should visit the official website of their local government before visiting the beach. Additionally, precautionary measures should be noted and strictly followed. Gone are the days when we could go to the beach spontaneously. Now, we need to check the guidelines and health safety before we plan anything. For instance, the famous Kent beaches like Roadstairs, Dover, Whitstable, and many others are now open with SOPs.
3. Some Beaches Are Still Not Open, Why?
The Miami Beach still closed while Virginia Beach is overly crowded. Some state government says it’s safe while others say it’s not, what’s going on? The main reason is the difference in the policy of each state; some are more cautious, while others are not. Most states are worried about crowd control and the aftereffects that might infect billions of people. There is no vaccine yet, and the risk of getting the infection is high. Beaches of Virginia and Arizona are open because their state believes it’s safe to visit the state if you follow SOPs. We suggest caution, better to be safe than sorry!
4. Is It Imperative to Follow the Beach Rules? What If I Break Them?
Just like in schools, hospitals, and restaurants, the government has issued guidelines for visiting a beach. In the case of breaches, fines and an arrest warrant are issued by the authorities. Even if you see others breaking the rules, you can easily report and will get complete support from the police. The guidelines for beachgoers are not a joke. They have been designed with the collaboration of health experts. Anyone violating the rules will get strict punishment. Thus, be sure to check the rules of visiting a beach before leaving the house. Carry a mask, maintain distance, and do not plan a trip if you have a fever or other flu-like symptoms.
5. What Stuff Can I Take Along?
Unlike the traditional beach visits, visit during this pandemic will be different. Bear in mind that some beaches are only allowing the general public to use the beach for exercise. So, carrying the swimming kits, tents, barbecue kits, and umbrellas will be of no use. You should take the sanitization and cleaning stuff. Like a soap because you will be using the public washroom. Having your personal soap is good. Apart from it, you should carry a sanitizer, gloves and a mask. If you are visiting an open beach, choose a spot that is a safe distance from the crowd, bring a carpet, a rug, or a sheet and enjoy!
6. Is It Mandatory to Wear A Mask Even at The Beach?
Every health expert is of the view that wearing a mask is essential in every public place. Whether you are visiting a beach or a grocery store, a mask is essential for protection. For instance, if you are infected but have no symptoms, you might infect many others. But, a mask will protect others from catching the germs. Those beaches which are open have strict security, and the police officer will never let you enter without a mask. So, always wear a good quality mask for the utmost protection. The N95 respirators are the best face mask for coronavirus; however, the blue disposable surgical masks also offer some protection.
7. Is It Safe to Travel Out of The Town for A Beach Visit?
Even if the beaches are open out of the town, you should avoid them. Going at long distant places will bring along a lot of risks. Using an airplane or going by other public transport will increase the chances of catching the germs. Even if you go by private transport, you need to stop eating or wait at the gas station. These restrictions might seem a burden, but they are for our personal as well as public safety.
8. Vacation Rentals/Hotels, Which Is A Safer Option?
Lucky are the ones who live near beaches, but those who do not have this facility have to look for accommodations. Hotels are no safer as their cleanliness is questionable. In comparison to the hotels, vacation rentals are somewhat safer. As opposed to hotels, a fewer number of people live in the vacation rental, and after they leave, a sanitation crew cleans the room/house. Therefore, it is much safer.
9. Is it Safe to Play Beach Games?
Yes, it’s safe as long as you bring your own sports equipment. Do not use the stuff available at the vacation rental. Also, do not take rental stuff from any other place. You do not know how many people have used it. Germs can stay alive for up to three days, so using your stuff is a safer option.
10. Can I Catch the Virus from Water?
Till now, there is no evidence that shows a connection between water and COVID-19. From what we know, you cannot catch the virus from water, but yes, you can catch it from other people, if proper distancing is not maintained.
Wrapping it Up
So, there is no harm in visiting a beach if you are following all the guidelines and maintaining sanitization. Try to visit the beach for outdoor exercising rather than hanging out with friends and family. Stay happy and stay safe!