Thursday 26 November, 2020

Staying COVID-19 safe, even at the beach

Despite the open air, beaches are not exempt from becoming places where the COVID-19 virus can spread and local health care experts are explaining how to ensure citizens don’t fall victim now that restrictions have eased. 

Epidemiologist, Dr Avery Hinds spoke on the matter at the Ministry of Health’s press briefing today where he encouraged citizens to be careful. 

“As we’ve released the restrictions on the beach, we still want to encourage people to go in smaller groups, to space themselves out, to look at the actual beach setting and determine whether there is space for you to take your small group and insert it into a land area that separates you from the others on the beach,” he said. 

Gatherings, in general, are a concern. Dr Hinds said that the more crowded an area is, the more discernment is needed.     

“If the beach is crowded, you do have the option to turn around and go back,” he added. 

Citizens argue that it could be inconvenient, but Dr Hinds reiterated the need for proper mask-wearing habits even on the beach. 

“We also do want to encourage while you are on the shore, the continued use of masks so we want to see some mask tan selfies coming out. We want the masks to remain with you while you are on the shore; we do understand that you can’t wear them in the water,” he implored. 

Dr Hinds encouraged beachgoers to avoid holding cookouts and large limes. He says compliance is key in ensuring that the populace is able to continue enjoying the lifting of the restrictions. 

“We do know that exercise, seawater, fresh air, swimming and those things are good for you; we wanted to allow that access without increasing the risks,” he said. 

Beaches and coastal waters have been open to the public from the hours of 6am to 6pm. Community pools and rivers remain closed. 

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