By Wendi Rank
The Fourth of July. Beach time, right?
I know, I know. I said I’m not a shore person. But I am a beach person. I just do my beaching elsewhere.
Sorry. My beach is top secret. It’s not crowded. I’m keeping it that way. Let’s just say that it is open, it is in another state, and you won’t find me there anytime soon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to ask we weigh the risks of travel, and when traveling by car we should remember stops can lead to exposure. Reduce stops by bringing everything you’ll need. Stay close to home, and don’t travel if you have symptoms or think you’ve been exposed.
Virus transmission appears to be more likely indoors than outdoors, and the virus doesn’t seem to spread through lake or ocean water. Social distancing still applies – even in the water. Wear your mask when you’re not swimming.
Pennsylvania’s lakeside beaches are open. Locations and restrictions can be found here. Lakeside and oceanfront beaches are open with restrictions in Maryland and Delaware. Maryland’s guidelines can be found here; Delaware’s here.
New Jersey’s beaches are also open with restrictions. Current regulations can be found here. New Jersey’s beaches require tags; minimize contact by purchasing them online.
Now that you’ve considered the risks and sent everyone to the bathroom, here are a few more tips to keep you and everyone else safer:
1. Pack Wisely
Bring everything you’ll need for your day at the beach, such as food, umbrellas, and toys. Don’t share with anyone outside of your household.
2. Park Wisely
Pay parking fees by app. If parking is limited the beach may be too crowded for social distancing.
3. Know The Rules
Familiarize yourself with the rules before you go. Follow them, and make sure the kids do too.
4. Know The Bathroom Situation
Use bleach wipes on handles, faucets, and toilets before and after use. Obey limits on the number of people permitted inside facilities and wash your hands. That brings us to…
5. Know How To Wash Your Hands At The Beach
Your hands are going to be covered with sunscreen (right?) and sand. When using hand sanitizer, the CDC suggests wiping your hands clean of grit and grease first. Use your hand sanitizer, allow it to dry, then reapply your sunscreen.
6. Bring A Trash Bag
Whenever you’re on public lands, follow the “Leave No Trace” rule. Avoid sticking your hands in a lidded trash can by bringing your own trash bag. Pack it out with you when you leave.
7. Socially Distance And Wear A Mask
I know I already said this, but it bears repeating. Keep six feet from anyone else on the beach. I’m avoiding public places, but if I was at my beach, I’d be able to socially distance.
Because it’s not crowded.
Dying to know, aren’t you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Rank is a Montgomery County native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.