Sunday 5 July, 2020

With COVID, new beach etiquette is washing ashore

Whether it’s the cool, easy laid back style of Seven Mile Beach or the more dramatic beauty of East End, we know that you’ve been itching to get back to the beach without restrictions. And while better days are ahead of us for sure, our desire to bask in the sun should not cause us to forget that coronavirus is still a threat— just look at the recent spike in cases all over the United States.

The good news for beachgoers is most experts agree that the risk of contracting coronavirus is reduced in outdoor spaces because the virus particles are more easily dispersed. It is important to highlight, however, that this reduced risk still requires taking basic precautions.

Read and reread. This will not be a typical summer.

While regulations around physical distancing are being enforced everywhere on the island, and carry a $250 fine if not followed, there are other considerations to bear in mind. One quick example is that folks will no longer be so quick to share items such as chairs or umbrellas.

A mask just might turn out to be the most vital beach gear this summer, but make sure you put on some extra sunscreen to avoid a COVID-tan. According to a recent article published by the Associated Press, Dr Shawn Nasseri stressed, “If you’re downwind from groups of people, even if you’re more than 6 feet apart, respiratory droplets can be blown, putting you at greater risk. If it’s not crowded it might be safe to enjoy a beach day without a mask with a small group, and ideally bring your own towels, toys, chairs and food.” If with a small group, it is a good idea to bring a disinfectant wipe.

I know you might be experiencing post-quarantine fatigue and are desperate to enjoy your favourite beach. But if the parking lot is full or the beach looks crowded, select another beach or return another time, possibly during off-peak days or hours.

Caymanians should expect to see “beach police” popping up once in a while to ensure proper safety and social distancing.

And one more thing... our beaches have gotten a much-needed break over the past few months. Don't ruin it by being nasty! Throw your PPE and everything else you've brought with you away or take it back home with you when you're done.

For many Caymanians the beach is a natural stress reliever and might just be what the doctor ordered. The rippling waves, sunshine and soothing breeze can effectively take our minds off of these challenging times.

The beach is a getaway place for so many; the key is to get away safely and responsibly.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: