The soft sand, relaxing sound of the waves, refreshing sea breeze – there are so many things about going to the beach that keeps us wanting to go back for more, even during the pandemic. As summer turns to fall, die-hard beach fans may still head to the beach any chance they get. It is still important to take safety precautions even while at the beach. Here are our top 10 tips for handling COVID-19 at the beach.
10. If You Have Symptoms – Don´t Go!
Perhaps it goes without saying, but even if you haven´t received a positive COVID-19 test result, you really shouldn´t be going anywhere, much less to the beach if you feel under the weather. It is important to remember that the best way to keep the Coronavirus from spreading is to “nip it in the bud,” which means, in this case, self-isolating if there is even the slightest chance that you might be sick. If you are coughing, have a fever or body aches, or any of the other symptoms associated with COVID-19, do yourself and everyone else a favor, stay home until you are feeling better, and are sure you aren´t infected.
9. Go to the Pool Instead
While nothing truly compares to the feeling of having your toes in the sand and hearing the sound of the waves crashing, outdoor pools are considered to be slightly safer than the beach at this point in the global pandemic. This is mainly because scientists have found that the chlorine, generally used to keep pools clean, kills the COVID-19 virus. Of course, at a full pool of people, it is nearly impossible to social distance. It is risky because of the human contact factor but, given a choice between an outdoor pool and the ocean, a pool is slightly safer than the sea because of the chlorine.
8. Wash Your Hands
It might seem silly to remind people to wash their hands while at the beach, since you are literally surrounded by water, but don´t forget that most visits to the beach include at least one trip to the bathroom or the consumption of a snack or a meal. If you decide to go to the beach, make sure to take your hand sanitizer or alcohol spray and use it whenever you have touched anything, especially in the bathroom or after eating.
7. Wear a Mask
You can´t wear a mask while you´re swimming, of course, but you can (and should!) wear one any time you´re not in the water. The CDC recommends mask-wearing as one of the best ways to protect others from possible contact with the COVID-19 virus, and there have been recent studies that show wearing a mask can even help protect the person wearing it. So, when you are not in the water, be sure to keep your mask on!
6. Choose a Quieter Beach
Everyone has their favorite beach or beaches, but in this particularly difficult moment in history, it is worth it to take the time to find a less-trafficked beach. It might mean the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Look for beaches with a long expanse of sand, which allows greater social distancing, as well as fewer beach-goers per season. Another helpful hint is to avoid peak times, choosing to get in your beach time in either the early morning or later evening.
5. Avoid Public Transportation
If it is possible to drive, bike or walk to a beach, rather than taking public transportation, all the better. Busses, trains and other forms of public transportation tend to make social distancing difficult, which can mean that you are exposed to getting sick before you even get one toe in the sand. If your favorite beach is too far away to bike or walk to, and you can´t take your own car (or don´t have one), you may want to consider putting off your trip or opting for a dip in the local outdoor pool.
4. Social Distance
Once you get to the beach, find a spot in the sand where you can be sufficiently socially distanced from the other beachgoers. Once you have settled in, if another group or family sets up too close to your towels, don´t feel bad about moving a bit further away. In other circumstances, what might be considered rude is really not. It is only a show of concern for yourself and your own party but also for the group from which you are distancing.
3. Take Shorter Dips
If the water is really full of people, and you can´t stay out of the water altogether, try to swim for shorter periods of time, limiting that close contact with the other bathers. If you visit the beach with your family or friends, consider taking turns – one group stays at the spot ensuring no other groups set up too close, while the other group swims.
2. Be Careful With Food
One beloved part of a trip to the beach is the boardwalk and the food that can be found on it, such as funnel cake, ice cream, burgers and so much more! If there is a boardwalk, wear your mask the whole time you walk on it. It is also important to be extra careful with food as you try to stay safe from COVID-19. Your best bet is to bring food with you, but if you just can´t stay away from the boardwalk fare, try to find a spot that looks clean and don´t share your dish with anyone else, as tempting as it is to try a bit of everything, nothing, not even funnel cake, is worth getting sick over.
1. Don´t Stay Too Long
A trip to the beach usually is a full day, if not weekend or week-long affair. Especially if you´ve paid a pretty penny to get there, it seems a shame not to make the most of the day and stay as long as possible. But, remember, one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to keep your contact with anyone outside of your group to a minimum. Try to enjoy a max of a few hours at your favorite spot and then head on home.
Even as we head into the fall season, a trip to the beach is still one of the most popular outings for families and individuals. It is often hard to say no to the beach. Since a day at the beach is generally an outdoor activity, some of the risks of contracting COVID-19 are lower than other activities, but there are still many risks to consider. If you are headed to the beach, keep this list in your back pocket, and have a great time without adding any unnecessary risk to your health.