Beach Safety During COVID-19

Safety Team
Updated Jul 23, 2020
2 min read
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how many families enjoy summer. Canceled vacations and social distancing has made plans for fun in the sun quite different than we’ve ever known. One popular summer must-do is to visit the beach, but many families now wonder if it’s safe.

CDC Beach Recommendations

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has outlined a few recommendations to keep in mind as you weigh the risk of going to the beach this summer.

The longer and closer you are to people that you don’t live with, the greater the risk you have of potentially spreading or contracting the virus. The CDC also recommends not sharing food, rinks equipment or other materials with people that you don’t live with. You should also keep a distance of at least six feet with others. 

You should also do your best to practice social distancing in closed spaces such as bathrooms, shower rooms, visitor centers and restaurants around the beach. Face coverings or masks help reduce the spread in these settings and when social distancing isn’t possible on the beach. 

It’s important to note that face coverings should not be used when swimming or playing in the water. However, there are two circumstances in which the CDC waives the recommendation of masks being worn near water:

  • Rescuing a swimmer or someone drowning or facing trouble in the water. 
  • Evacuate the water or beach in the event of an emergency. 

Most importantly, the CDC advises that people understand how the virus is spread so they can limit their interactions and reduce their risks. 

“The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mostly person to person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Another person can become infected if the droplets land in his or her mouth or nose and possibly if the droplets are inhaled into the lungs. The virus might also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth, or possibly eyes.”

It’s still unknown whether or not COVID-19 can spread in the water at this time. There’s also the risk of swimming or being near an infected person while in the water.

Beach staff and visitors should always be mindful of their health and stay home if they’re not feeling well. You should also stay home if you’ve tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting your results. 

What to Know Before You Go

Beach Rules and Recommendations 

Most beaches are equipped with signs reminding beachgoers to practice social distancing and be mindful of their health during this time. Some beaches also include more portable handwashing stations for your health and safety. Before you head to the beach, make sure you’re aware of recommendations and regulations to keep you and your family safe. 

Staying Overnight at the Beach 

If you’re visiting a beach from out of town and planning an overnight trip, make sure you’re aware of your hotel or rental property’s cleanliness standards. You should also be aware of any other policies including masks, social distancing and areas that are off-limits during this time for your safety, such as pools or community spaces. And remember, it’s OK to take your own sanitation products to make you feel more comfortable during your stay. 

Traveling to the Beach 

If you live near a beach, you may be able to take a short day trip, but it’s not advised to travel far to another beach using mass transportation such as a plane right now. And the area you’re traveling to may have a higher number of cases than your hometown. If you choose to take a short day trip during the Coronavirus, pack some snacks and water in case your usual rest stops are closed or crowded along the way. 

Social Distancing at the Beach and Surrounding Areas 

Try visiting popular beaches early in the morning when most people are still home. You’ll likely also have more space to safely distance yourself from others at that time. It’s best to avoid popular beaches around holidays and weekends when they’ll be most crowded. 

Beach Bag Checklist During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you decide to head to the beach during this time, remember to pack a few extra items with you for your safety. Don’t forget your usual beach safety items including life jackets, sunscreen and other necessities for your day of fun in the sun. 

  • Face masks in a waterproof bag (A plastic sealed bag is best.)
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Disinfectant wipes 
  • Snacks, water and non-perishable food 
  • Disposable gloves 

Is It Safe to Go to the Beach During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The decision is up to you. If you’ve reviewed the information above and find that it’s still too risky, it may be best to plan for a trip later when the curve has flattened. Plan for other fun activities that make it easier to socially distance and enjoy the sun. Maybe install a pool for water fun or plan to camp out in the backyard with family. 

If you choose to go, remember to keep all safety rules and recommendations in mind for the safety of you and those around you. 

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