Dr. Beach’s Tips for social distancing — on the sand

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Face masks, social distancing and a trip to the beach. This once unlikely combination is
now a reality.

After being closed for nearly two months, many beaches across South Florida are
reopening. This is a small step toward normalcy, but one thing remains certain:
Spending time near the shore this summer will be different.

Stephen Leatherman — known as “Dr. Beach” for his annual list of “Top 10 Beaches” —
wants people breathing salty air with their toes in the sand. But he wants them to do it
responsibly. He shared the following tips for beachgoers to keep in mind this summer:

  • Follow guidelines — and check them twice. Visiting the beach during these
    times is going to be a much-needed stress relief for many people. Everyone must
    take personal responsibility so that beaches can remain open to the public. Pay
    attention to all guidelines. Remember, only certain activities such as walking,
    jogging and swimming may be allowed, while sunbathing or other activities may
    be prohibited.
  • Maintain a safe social distance at all times. Rules for social distancing don’t
    disappear once you set foot on the sand or go for a dip in the ocean. It’s
    important to stay 6 feet apart from other people.
  • Grab the sunscreen and, yes, a face mask! It may not seem like the best
    summer accessory, but it’s an absolutely necessary one. Check whether local
    rules dictate whether a face mask needs to be worn. Even if they aren’t required,
    make sure to have one on hand at all times, especially if you plan on ordering
    food or drinks at the beach.
  • Have a beach visit backup plan. There may be capacity limits on some
    beaches during reopening. And it’s inevitable that there may be days when spots
    fill up quickly so check the beach website. The good news is the beach will still
    be there tomorrow. When setting out on a beach visit, make sure to have a
    backup plan, like a picnic at a park.

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