It’s summer, which means it’s finally time to throw the kids in the minivan, get out of Dodge, and head to the ocean!
But wait — there’s still a pesky global health crisis in play, meaning beach safety looks a bit different this year. Experts are still advising us to be mindful and do all we can to protect ourselves, which in many cases means simply staying home.
While some people are canceling vacations altogether, others are opting to take them, just a little differently. And it’s totally understandable, because we’ve been home for a long, long time. Mental health matters, too, even in a health crisis.
So we need to weigh our options and make the choices that are best for us. For some people, that might look like getting out of town with some precautions in place.
If you’re thinking about heading to the beach, there are some things you need to consider in order to do it safely.
Stay Home If You're Sick
One of the most important things you can still do right now is stay home if you aren’t feeling well. That doesn’t mean only if you have a fever but also if you have a cough or a cold, or even if you think you’re suffering from allergies. Just stay home. Staying away from others at even the hint of illness is extremely important right now when it comes to keeping those around you safe. Unless you’re routinely getting tested, you don’t know if you’re carrying the virus. So staying home when you aren’t feeling well is crucial in preventing the spread.
If You Have a Preexisting Condition, Opt Out
If you have any preexisting conditions, taking a vacation right now is not the best idea. That’s because even if you’re trying to be as safe as possible, you can’t control absolutely everything. Those who are going out of town need to be aware that there is still some risk involved, even when using caution. While it’s tough to fully process at times, every time we step outside of our homes, we risk encountering germs that could make us sick. Right now, those who have other illnesses or who are over 65 and therefore in a higher-risk category should simply stay home whenever possible.
Choose Your Location Wisely
We keep seeing tons of images of people on packed beaches, clearly not practicing social distancing. These images are incredibly alarming and have experts worried for good reason. Social distancing is still key in slowing the spread. Some popular beaches aren’t going to allow for folks to socially distance — they’re simply too crowded. So choosing a destination that isn’t going to be highly congested is important.
Enjoy Nature Instead of Popular Tourist Spots
There are tons of ways to enjoy beach time without going to crowded tourist spots. Yes, your vacation might look a little different from usual if you’re used to going to all of the popular spots, like the boardwalk and the arcade. But simply hanging out on the beach away from the crowd — or enjoying nature in other ways, like paddle boarding or kayaking — are super-fun vacation activities that you probably don’t get to do on the regular.
If You Must Go to a Restaurant, Eat Outside
Many restaurants are allowing people indoors, typically at a decreased capacity. But experts still advise that hanging out inside bars or eating inside restaurants is one of the least-safe activities we can be doing now. If you’re going to go to one of your favorite vacation restaurants, you should definitely opt for outside seating. And if you want to be really safe, grab some carryout and take it back to your condo instead.
Cook Instead of Going Out
Vacation doesn’t just mean eating greasy food all week! For those who enjoy cooking, a vacation can actually be a fun time to put in the extra effort and make some delicious grub. If your vacation spot has a kitchen, get cooking. You might just learn some new recipes that you’ll be glad to take home with you, and you’ll stay safe.
Stay in a Private House Instead of a Hotel
While many people enjoy the accommodations that hotels have to offer, like continental breakfasts and gyms, there are definitely perks right now to choosing differently. Staying in a condo with its own entrance, or even a private house, can provide a lot more safety. That way, you aren’t coming in contact with others when you go in and out. It’s basically like staying home but in a whole new location that’s close to the beach. It’s the best of both worlds!
Keep Washing Those Hands
Diligent handwashing is still important! If you’re venturing out to eat while on vacation, going into shops, or touching items others may have touched, frequent handwashing will help to keep the germs at bay. Experts say it’s one of the best ways to avoid sickness, especially right now. So wash up, and bring the hand sanitizer along wherever you go.