5 Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make at the Beach

Memorial Day weekend is here! But if you plan on hitting the beach, follow these safety guidelines.

Memorial Day typically kicks off a summer filled with barbecues, pool parties, and frolicking at the beach. But in 2020, the year of the coronavirus, all of these activities we once took for granted are no longer givens. Various states have different guidelines for reopening parks and beaches and even if they are open, many people are concerned for their health and safety. The good news is, the latest research indicates that the safest place to be right now is outdoors. In fact, a recent study out of Japan, from the country's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, found that the odds that a primary case of COVID-19 was transmitted in a closed environment was nearly 19 times greater compared to an open-air environment.

Many experts say that visiting a beach is not a high-risk environment for coronavirus transmission, as long as you do so responsibly. There are basic guidelines for a trip to the beach that everyone should adhere to in order to make sure that they and those around them stay safe and healthy. Here's what you should know. And for the places to avoid right now, check out the 7 Germiest Public Places You Should Avoid Even After They Reopen.

Don't mingle.

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Immunologist Erin Bromage, PhD, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, recently appeared on MSNBC and encouraged beach-going but insisted that "we shouldn't be mixing households on beaches." Individuals who share the same home can safely sunbathe and frolic together, but interacting with other households of unknown COVID-19 status? That's too risky. And for more to know about reopening, check out 7 Myths About Reopening You Need to Stop Believing.

Keep at least six feet of distance.

beach and palm trees in rio de janeiro

Bromage noted that he "saw beaches as being incredibly safe as long as you maintain the distance between households." So it's not just about not mixing households, but, according to Bromage, beachgoers "should be creating six, eight feet of space between our towels."

Don't play beach sports.

beach volleyball game

Recent studies show that talking loudly, heavy breathing, and exercise can lead to the spread of the coronavirus. So maybe skip the beach volleyball game and instead read a book or just take a nap. And for some summer activities you can do safely, check out 15 Summer Backyard Games to Play During Quarantine.

Try to limit or avoid using public restrooms.

modern public toilet sign on the cement wall - Image

The most dangerous places where you can contract the coronavirus are those that are high-trafficked and unventilated. It also turns out that the aerosolization of fecal matter when one flushes the toilet can spread the contagion. And, as Bromage previously wrote in a viral blog post, "toilet flushing does aerosolize many droplets." So avoid public restrooms if you can, and if you do use it, flush with the seat down.

Bring your own food and drink.

beach bag with hat,towel, sunglasses, sun lotion, pebbles, seashells and flip flops at the beach

Some beach concession stands are indoor facilities. As we mentioned, high-trafficked, densely crowded, and poorly ventilated facilities are places where coronavirus transmission is the highest. In short? Bring your own food and drink and avoid the fellow concession stand patrons. And for more mistakes you might be making as lockdowns end, check out 9 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make During Reopening.

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