On Monday (March 16) President Trump addressed the nation with some new guidelines to follow in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. He advised people to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary, to school their children at home if possible, and to refrain from eating at restaurants, food courts, and bars.
President Trump also said there should be no gatherings of ten or more people. This connects to the practice of “social distancing,” which involves avoiding large groups and keeping to yourself as much as possible.
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) March 16, 2020
Additionally, the CDC has recommended that all people stay at least six feet apart from each other.
Out of an abundance of caution, large gatherings such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events have been canceled or postponed. Restaurants, schools, gyms, and other businesses have closed to keep people from gathering in tight spaces.
In Florida, all of the go-to amusement parks are temporarily closed. Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Busch Gardens all closed their gates to guests for at least the next few weeks.
Good morning from Walt Disney World where all four theme parks are now closed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pic.twitter.com/GGkWl2nggZ
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) March 16, 2020
But the lack of open theme parks hasn’t stopped spring breakers from traveling to the Sunshine State. And despite the President’s and the CDC’s recommendations, they are flocking to the beaches in large groups.
As of this writing, it is still considered “safe” for people to spend time outdoors. You can go for a hike or jog, ride your bike, or walk your dog, as long as you are respectful to other people and maintain the CDC’s recommended distance of six feet.
However, beachgoers in Florida are ignoring those recommendations. Photos and videos show packed beaches throughout the state, with thousands of people mingling and swimming in large groups.
BUSY BEACH! This is what @MyClearwater Beach looks like right now as spring break crowds flock to the sand. #Clearwater leaders haven’t decided if they should add a curfew or close beaches but they may vote on measures related to the #coronavirus this Thursday. @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/jGoxQdYJg5
— Sarah J. Hollenbeck (@SarahHollenbeck) March 16, 2020
— Liz Burch WTSP (@LizBurchWTSP) March 14, 2020
Clearwater Beach, Florida is PACKED today despite "social distancing" recommendations.
We Americans sure can be a dumb lot…pic.twitter.com/LRU06h2d03
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) March 16, 2020
WATCH: Ft. Lauderdale Beach crowded with people with no care, DESPITE dire & grim projections of #coronavirus and US Senator Rick Scott & Miami Mayor in Self-Quarantine.
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) March 16, 2020
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the state on Tuesday (March 17). Although he refrained from closing the beaches on a statewide scale, he advised people to practice social distancing:
“What we’re going to be doing is, simply, for the statewide floor for beaches, is applying the CDC guidance of no group on a beach more than 10 and you have to have distance apart if you’re going to be out there,” DeSantis said, as quoted by CBS News. “Different localities are going to make decisions about what makes sense.”
A few cities have made the call to close their public beaches, including Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
A CBS News report published at 2:07 PM EST on Tuesday (March 17) stated there were 192 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida up to that point.
Remember, it’s important to practice good hand washing techniques, and be sure to keep workspaces and surfaces sanitary. Avoid large groups, practice social distancing, and stay home if you feel sick.