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Jacksonville just announced that as of today, it is opening its beaches back up to the public.
The catch is that they are only opening the beaches up for “essential activities.”
They are defining essential activities as things like walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, walking pets, and surfing and they are also stating that social distancing must be maintained for these activities. Finally, the beaches will only be open from 6am to 11am every morning and 5pm to 8pm every evening.
Many people believe that Florida is opening up its beaches too soon.
According to the latest model of coronavirus death projections, Florida is approximately 15 days from its projected peak meaning that it hit its height 15 days ago.
Therefore, opening up its beaches actually seems like it may be in line with the new White House standards which call for a steady decrease of cases in a period of 14 days.
However, if you really look at the model for Florida, there has not been a steady decrease in deaths (it’s worth noting that deaths will always lag behind the progress of decreased new cases).
So Florida is probably past its peak but it’s not clear to me how far past it truly is.
Still, if social distancing is strictly enforced, I don’t see a huge risk in re-opening up the beaches for exercise and similar activities.
People need to get out to stay sane and to stay healthy.
Beaches can be pretty open areas and if they can ensure that people are not congregating close together and not just hanging out on the beach then I honestly don’t see a problem with this. (I would probably require masks but I don’t think they are doing that.)
So for me it all comes down to if they can enforce social distancing.
But even beyond social distancing, there is another potential thing to consider. There is the risk of coronavirus essentially getting spread around by sea spray at beaches. This is a legitimate concern for some experts so it is something to consider.
But overall, I think a lot of people are coming down too hard on Jacksonville just because it’s Florida and Florida has not done everything at the ideal speed in terms of its coronavirus policies.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.