The good news is that it’s Memorial Day Weekend, states are cautiously beginning to open beaches and parks, and the weather looks promising. The bad news is that the virus has not gone away so visiting your favorite coastal spots will come with many restrictions and limitations. If you are expecting a “normal” experience, you may be disappointed. You should “know before you go” and consider taking small steps to favorite outdoor activities rather than jumping in headlong … perhaps stay closer to home base to test the waters. Definitely don’t drive to another state without checking first – some states require 14-day quarantines for out-of-state visitors! But even if there is no quarantine requirement, check the status and availability of your destination, along with learning any rules and requirements that may be in place. Don’t count on lifeguards or public restrooms. Plan to bring face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and possibly your own food and beverages. Even if some restaurants are open for takeout or outdoor dining, they will likely have limited capacity.
We amassed some resources to help you plan before you go to the beach.
First, how safe are outdoor activities? The New York Times checked with experts who say that being outdoors with is probably fine and if you adhere to appropriate social distancing and think things through. They warn about lowering your guard too much and caution about outdoor dining, using locker rooms at pools, and navigating crowds in places like beaches. See What We Know About Your Chances of Catching the Virus Outdoors
They suggest that:
Ideally, people should socialize only with people who live in their homes, they say. If you decide to meet friends, you’re increasing your risk, but you can take precautions. It’s important to keep gatherings small. Don’t share food, utensils or beverages; keep your hands clean; and keep at least six feet from people who don’t live in your home.
- NECN offers a handy guide to Beaches Open Over Memorial Day Weekend in New England. Don’t plan on visiting coastal beaches in NH, they won’t be open yet, and in other states, there are restrictions on activities and services, limitations on capacity and rules for social distancing. Related from NECN: Here’s How New England Is Reopening After Coronavirus Shutdowns
- Mass. Beaches Will Open On Memorial Day. Here’s What To Know
- CT Releases Plan on Use of State Parks, Beaches This Summer
- NH: Seacoast beaches remain closed, state parks open but gathering on beaches not allowed
- A guide to Memorial Day weekend in Maine under virus restrictions
- On R.I.’s south shore, opening town beaches gets down to nitty-gritty
- Reopening: Here’s what is open in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
- 6 Ways to Stay Safe at the Beach During the Pandemic
- Stay safe outdoors: 8 things to avoid if you’re hitting the beach or park this weekend
Be cautious as you venture into public outdoor spaces … we all need to stay safe ourselves and keep our families and neighbors safe. Keep your expectations low, be flexible, and avoid crowded spots. This first weekend “free” might be too crowded, a walk or a bike ride in your local area might be the best bet. Public health officials will be keeping tabs on how things go in this first big holiday of the pandemic and it will affect how things go over the course of the summer, so let’s all be careful, safe, patient and respectful. We don’t want to undo all the good we did by staying at home over the last many weeks!