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03 • 24 • 2020

Beach Access with COVID-19 Threat

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community has experienced everything from physical sickness to fear and anxiety, but this is also a time when we must rely upon each other for our collective safety and well-being. As Surfrider members, we greatly enjoy the outdoors, particularly the beach and the ocean, which is why we've fought for decades to keep our beaches healthy and accessible, and will continue to do so. We believe nature should be a place of refuge for all; however, we also believe in being responsible citizens acting to protect the health and safety of our community.

In response to the coronavirus crisis, public health experts have emphasized the necessity of social distancing and explained the dangers of crowding into wilderness and beach areas. Surfrider therefore encourages everyone to adhere to state and local laws and health department guidelines designed to protect our communities and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing social distancing and accepting temporary closures of public resources including libraries, parks and beaches.

Surfrider continues to be a staunch defender of public beach access rights; however, in these extraordinary times, extraordinary measures are needed to protect our health and livelihoods so we can, in due course, protect and enjoy our ocean, waves and beaches in the future.

Below are Surfrider’s recommended guidelines for beachgoers during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Follow all local, state and federal laws and guidelines, including restrictions on beach access and ocean recreation. These are designed to protect your health, as well as the health of others.
  • Stay close to home. Traveling to other towns, particularly in less populated areas, can put those communities at unnecessary risk and contribute to crowded beaches.
  • Recreate with caution. Now is not a good time to get hurt. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed, or soon will be. Please do not add to the burden.
  • Avoid popular beaches and parks where social distancing may be challenging - either in the water, on the sand, in the parking lot, or the access between.
  • Recognize that recreational waters may carry additional risks during this public health crisis. For more information see Surfrider’s Blog COVID-19 and Beach Water Quality.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you may have been exposed to someone with the virus, stay home and call your doctor.