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Beach Safety During COVID-19

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Laura Zabriskie

July 29, 2020
It’s no secret that summer looks very different this year. But with vacation season in full swing, many are left wondering how to safely enjoy their upcoming trip. For most, this includes a trip to the beach. While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way people vacation and travel, there are still ways to have fun and stay safe. Molly Hyde, MHS, CIC, Infection Control Practitioner at GBMC, spoke with Fox 45 News’ Patrice Sanders about precautions people should take at the beach.

There has been a lot of confusion about when masks should and should not be worn at the beach, particularly when people are going in and out of the water. Molly clarified that masks should not be worn in the water. “When masks become wet, they can be difficult to breathe through, which puts you at risk in other ways,” she explained. Because of this, it is especially important to maintain physical distance by staying six feet away from others in the water. While the virus doesn’t spread through water itself, infected droplets can still spread from person to person the way they would if those people were on land.

When asked about wearing masks outside of the water, Molly responded that it depends on how crowded the beach is. “If the beach is fairly empty and you’re not around a lot of people, it’s safe to take your mask off as long as you can stay away from others,” she said. The situation changes if it becomes difficult to physically distance. “If the beach is extremely crowded and you’re running into people or constantly walking past people, then you really want to have your mask on,” Molly advised.

Unfortunately, masks are only effective when everyone wears them, and it isn’t always possible to uphold physical distancing. If you feel like you’re in a high-risk situation because of others’ behavior, Molly suggested leaving the beach and exploring alternative activities that you may not have otherwise looked into.

The conversation then shifted to staying safe in hotels and rental properties. These spaces should be disinfected in between guests, but Molly recommended doing your own cleaning just in case something was missed. “I’m not suggesting that you have to spend your entire vacation scrubbing every square inch of the space,” she explained, “but you do want to make sure you’re giving everything a good wipe down.” She suggested bringing personal disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, and tabletops prior to the entire family entering the room.

Click here to watch the full interview.
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