Why we must stay six feet apart as beaches reopen

Kerry Donovan, R2 News Editor

Mantoloking Beach (Photo by Stephen Kirby)

As summer approaches, there is one thing that I’ve been longing to do for months: go to the beach to enjoy the warm weather, friends, music, and more. During the school year, you reminisce about these blissful times in anticipation for them to come again. Since COVID-19 has put a pause on normalcy, the likeliness of experiencing these things the way we previously did hasn’t been looking too great. However, as the weather gets warmer and quarantine stretches on, beaches across the U.S. have recently begun to open with restrictions, giving people hope that their ideal summer could be a possibility. With the hopes that summer 2020 will be spent at the beach, it’s more important now than ever that we continue to social distance.

According to ABC, many states are reopening their beaches starting Memorial Day weekend with social distancing restrictions, including most New Jersey beaches, as well as all state-run beaches in New York. Great news to hear, right? We’ll still be able to enjoy summer and go to the beach as long as we social distance. But, recent actions by some people have threatened this dream.

Though the public is well aware of the social distancing rules at the beach, photos surfaced in April that showed tens of thousands of people ignoring social distancing restrictions at beaches in both Florida and California. This raised fears that a second wave of COVID-19 will hit this fall, increasing the likelihood that beaches may need to close again.

Realistically, forcing people to stay home as the weather gets nicer isn’t an option, and keeping beaches closed to decrease COVID-19 cases could end up doing more harm than good. As people are getting more eager to go to the beach, there have been large protests for them to reopen, such as the ones that took place earlier this month in Huntington Beach, CA. At these protests, thousands of people ignored social distancing guidelines which could ultimately end up increasing COVID-19 cases. As long as there are strict rules enforcing social distancing in place, keeping beaches open may actually be the best option to diminish COVID-19 cases. 

According to The New York Times, the number of COVID-19 cases has been dropping in many states across the U.S. However, this doesn’t mean that we can begin to stop social distancing just because the weather is getting warmer. According to USA Today, the number of cases could easily increase if people continue to ignore social distancing. Keeping our distance from others is of utmost importance so we can still enjoy ourselves this upcoming summer and stay safe.

Yes, this isn’t the most ideal situation for summer 2020. But, as someone who loves the beach and all the activities that come along with it, seeing people fail to social distance is more than unsettling; we all want to have a summer to look forward to while still reducing the number of COVID-19 cases. In order to do this and return to a sense of normalcy, the best thing we can do this summer is to stay six feet apart.