Floridans Practicing ‘Life’s A Beach’ Attitude As Much As Social Distancing
Bursting at the seams to get outside and enjoy , Floridians began enjoying a day at the beach after the governor reopened the state’s most treasured commodity after the COVID-19 forced shutdowns.
Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions on beaches and parks so people could get out and exercise. And people did more than that – they took their dogs for walks, stilled along the shoreline and even went surfing.
Thousands went to beaches in Jacksonville, many not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Riding bikes on First Street in the city’s Atlantic Beach was also a popular activity, many pedaling around an electric traffic sign with the words “Social Distance Zone.”
North Florida beaches were quick to jump on the governor’s move, although it involves restricted hours of 6-11 a.m., and 5-8 p.m. Gatherings are limited to 50 people.
In the Florida panhandle, the Panama City mayor has called for a special meeting to consider re-opening its beaches. Leaders in Pinellas County (Clearwater, St. Pete) are taking a wait-and-see policy and beaches in Ft. Lauderdale.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is ready to re-open parks, marinas, waterways and golf courses, but is holding off on beaches for now.
“I’ve seen a lot of buzz on social media from people who think beaches in Miami-Dade County are opening up,” Gimenez Tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “This is not the case. Although we’re consulting with medical experts on the future opening of public spaces, there is currently no timeline for opening beaches.”
Meanwhile in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that state would be relaxing the #stayhome orders this week, protests of small groups (a dozen to a couple hundred people) have broken out across the country from Maryland to Huntington Beach, and in California’s Hermosa Beach, people are taking to Facebook openly voice their frustration and calling for that city to reopen its beaches.
Lost among all the media attention in Florida is the fact that Georgia beaches have been open the past three weeks. Perhaps the national media and the “citizen journalists” on social media do not realize Georgia has beaches.
What is apparent from all this is that Americans have spent what they feel is enough time in seclusion and they are ready to start going out and leaving normal lives again.