Stephen Leatherman wants people breathing salty air with their toes in the sand. Six feet apart. In a face mask.
After being closed for nearly two months, some beaches across South Florida are reopening. This is a small step toward normalcy — but one thing remains certain: Spending time near the shore this summer will be different.
The FIU Institute of Envionment professor known as “Dr. Beach” for his annual list of “Top 10 Beaches” has some tops tips for beachgoers to stay safe while enjoying the beach:
- Guidelines — and check them twice. Visiting the beach can be a much-needed stress relief and everyone should take personal responsibility so beaches can remain open. Follow guidelines. Remember, only certain activities such as walking, jogging and swimming may be allowed, while sunbathing or other activities may be prohibited.
- Maintain a safe social distance. Rules for social distancing don’t disappear once you set foot on the sand or go for a dip in the ocean. It’s important to stay 6 feet apart from other people.
- Wear a face mask and don’t forget the sunscreen! A mask may not seem like the best summer accessory, but it’s an absolute necessity. Check whether local rules dictate require a face mask. Even if they aren’t required, make sure to have one on hand at all times, especially if you plan on ordering food or drinks at the beach. And be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen. It’s good for your skin and in a pandemic, will help avoid weird, face mask tan lines!
- Have a backup plan. There may be capacity limits on some beaches during reopening. And it’s inevitable that there may be days when spots fill up quickly; so check the beach website. The good news is the beach will still be there tomorrow. When setting out on a beach visit, make sure to have a backup plan, like a picnic at a park.