Going to the beach—whether along the ocean or your favorite lake or river—is one of the most popular summer activities around the world. When temperatures heat up, there is nothing more appealing than cooling down near a body of water. However, the coronavirus pandemic is putting a damper on the universal summer pastime. After all, there is only so much shoreline, and beaches are generally packed with people—generally not spaced out six feet apart. While hitting the beach this summer might not seem like a great idea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a set of rules to make the experience a whole lot safer. But be forewarned—your bathing suit shouldn’t be the only required attire on the shoreline.
The CDC released new recommendations targeted at government agencies and private entities that manage beaches, in order to help protect staff and beachgoers from the spread of Covid-19. In short, they involve social distancing and mask-wearing—but not at all times.
Worn “When Feasible”
“Encourage use of cloth face coverings among staff and beach visitors. Face coverings should be worn when feasible and are most essential at times when social distancing is difficult,” they advise.
While they suggest wearing masks while on the beach, when you want to take a dip, make sure to remove them. “Advise those wearing cloth face coverings to not wear them in the water, because they can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet. This means it is particularly important to maintain social distancing in the water,” they explain.
The CDC also reminds that “The more an individual interacts with people he or she doesn’t live with and the closer and longer each interaction is, the higher the risk is of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.” Therefore, minimizing this type of exposure is crucial, as they explain via different scenarios with varying levels of risk.
The lowest risk situation is when beachgoers and staff remain 6 feet apart from one another and do not not share food, equipment, toys or supplies with people they don’t live with.
The highest risk situation is when people are not socially distancing from others — especially those who live in a different town, city or county — and sharing things like food and equipment with them.
Stay Home if Sick
There is obviously one situation where the CDC does support breaking social distancing protocol, and that is when a lifeguard is rescuing someone.
Finally, if you are sick or have been exposed to the virus, put your beach plans—or any plans that involve leaving the house or being around other people for that matter—on hold. By taking this simple precaution you could be preventing a major outbreak and saving many lives in the process. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.