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The Surfrider Foundation, in conjunction with an expert task force, launches a Beach Access Guidance Report detailing recommendations on how to safely reopen America’s beaches

In advance of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, opening day for the beach season, the Surfrider Foundation today released guidance on beach access during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed by a task force of experts in public health, coastal management, environmental justice, and public policy, the guidance informs safe and responsible access as beaches reopen across the nation. 

“We assembled a team of highly accomplished experts to provide policy-making guidance to help safely reopen U.S. beaches,” said the Surfrider Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Chad Nelsen. “The Surfrider Foundation has a long history of fighting to protect and promote beach access and coastal recreation and we are working across the country to inform coastal access policies and address how to safely reopen beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Surfrider’s Beach Access during COVID-19 Guidance report includes key principles and a framework for coastal regulators to consider when making management decisions about beach access. It also lays out potential management options, including the call for regional coordination, clear public communication, and recommendations to consider a phased approach dependent on activity level. In addition, the report highlights beach management practices that have been recently put in place to govern in the wake of the global pandemic.

“Our beaches offer both joy and tranquility for many people,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “But In this time of COVID-19, ensuring the public health of everyone is our greatest concern. As we return to using our nation’s beaches, we need to continue to maintain physical distancing, masking and using sound hand and respiratory practices. By doing so, beachgoers can enjoy the water and the shore while controlling the spread of COVID-19.”

“This is a great example of how Surfrider can quickly and effectively assemble and distribute information and expertise regarding timely and important coastal issues,” said Michael Orbach, Ph.D., Duke University Professor Emeritus of Marine Affairs and Policy. 

The Surfrider Foundation is committed to assisting local and state governments, the surfing community and the general public in striking a balance to protect the health and safety of all people who live, work, visit, and recreate on and near the world’s beaches and oceans. The nationwide network is also working to ensure the general public can safely enjoy the coasts and ocean during this unprecedented time. 

For more information and science-based COVID-19 updates, visit Surfrider.org.

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About the Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 700 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.