While many of us have spent the better part of 2020 quarantined in our homes, you might be hoping to get out and enjoy the summer weather while it is here.
A beach vacation during coronavirus does entail some risk. But by following the recommendations below, you can help to minimize your risk and that of others while you're enjoying some sand and surf.
1. Vacation at isolated beaches.
The single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself is to be selective of your vacation spot.
In fact, the open airflow in these locations could actually make the beach one of the safer places to spend time outdoors so long as you are relatively isolated.
2. Choose spots far away from others, even if you have to walk a little further to set up.
A lot of people do not want to do a lot of walking before they set up on the beach. So, consider doing a little bit of extra walking yourself. By doing so, sometimes, you can find a relatively secluded spot even if you are at a city beach.
3. Follow all rules at the beach you are visiting.
Every beach has specific rules for COVID-19. Some involve limiting crowds by restricting how many people are in a group. Others concern activities, like not being allowed to sunbathe. Still others set limits on what you can bring (i.e. coolers).
Look up the rules for the beach in question, and follow all of them, whether you understand or agree with them or not.
4. Choose a spot upwind.
COVID-19 travels through the air. For that reason, it is better to set up upwind of another person or group on the beach than downwind.
5. Wear your mask when in close proximity to others.
If you are way out by yourself on the beach and feel comfortable taking off your mask, that is fine.
But if you are within a short distance of other people, you should wear your mask. Doing so protects others and yourself, and also encourages the same ethical behavior from your fellow beachgoers.
6. Consider yourself potentially contaminated when you are at the beach, as you do anywhere else outdoors.
Even if you are at a sparsely crowded beach, just stepping outside of the relatively controlled, contained environment of your home elevates your risk.
This is particularly true if you stop at other locations along the way, or if there is any coronavirus contaminating your vehicle that you might not be aware is present.
For that reason, while you're at the beach, you should never lose sight of the fact that you could potentially be contaminated.
So, you need to keep your hands away from your face, and try not to touch more surfaces than is necessary.
Also, keep in mind that rinsing your hands in the ocean water will not necessarily kill any viruses that are on your hands, as you have no soap.
Contamination from the ocean water is unlikely, but no one knows if it is impossible at this point. So, avoid swimming in crowded water.
7. Set up a canopy tent with sidewall attachments.
Consider bringing a canopy tent with you to the beach during COVID-19. You can set it up in such a way as to provide yourself with a little bit more protection.
For example, you can attach one or more sidewalls to block off some of the air flowing toward you, especially if you are downwind of someone.
Keep in mind that this will not stop you from getting coronavirus, but it is at least a little bit of extra protection.
Should you put up sidewalls on every side of your tent? That may not be the best idea, as you would not want any coronavirus to get trapped inside.
It may be wisest to leave at least one wall open so that there is still some circulation of air between the interior of the tent and the beach at large.
8. Bring hand sanitizer with you.
As when you are traveling anywhere else outside of your house, you should take hand sanitizer on your trip to the beach.
Use it as you are getting in and out of your automobile (i.e. on the steering wheel and door handle), and wipe down other surfaces and objects that you touch.
If you touch anything that you think might be contaminated in your environment, use it to try and disinfect your hands before handling other objects.
9. Be aware that public facilities may be either unclean or unavailable.
In some locations, public facilities like bathrooms and showers may be open, while in others they may be closed.
Obviously, if they are closed, you will need to have a backup plan in case you need to use the bathroom.
What if they are open? You should strongly consider avoiding using them if at all possible anyway, as they could be a hotbed for the virus.
10. Decontaminate when you come back home.
After you get back from the beach, you should follow the same decontamination protocols that you do when you get back home from any other location.
Even though you are much less likely to have picked up COVID-19 on an isolated beach then you would be at the grocery store, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Taking Proper Precautions Can Help You Stay Safe at the Beach During COVID-19
You have a number of helpful recommendations now to protect yourself from coronavirus while you are on a beach vacation this year.
Remember, there is no reason to take any unnecessary risks with your life or that of your family members.
So, avoid outings at crowded beaches, and stick with more remote locations where you will have plenty of room to yourself to enjoy the beach in relative safety and seclusion.